Death at a Funeral by Dean Craig
Maybe we should not go that far…
Death at a Funeral is a very good comedy that some critics feel has been overlooked and deserves more praise than it has received….they may have a point, even if some viewers will not fall off because of too much laughter.
When father dies, Daniel and his brother, Robert, should share the costs of the funeral, but the latter is not very forthcoming, to say the least and therefore the former might have to postpone or even cancel the plans ha had made with his wife, to move into a new place, after paying an advance of 15,000 pounds.
The undertakers, who bring in the wrong coffin, make the first accident that may provoke smiles with a different deceased and from here; there is a spiral or A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Simon is the fiancée of Daniel’s cousin and another misfortune has him taking the wrong drug, instead of Valium, he has a concoction from Troy that makes him not just high, but his (mis)behavior outlandish, he looks in a strange manner at people, laughs, cries and finally, he walks on the balcony and then climbs on top of the house, naked and confused.
Uncle Alfie is another personage prone to calamity, trapped as he is in a wheelchair, but more importantly plagued by a very bad, negative attitude and at a nadir, afflicted by a pressing need to use the rest room, where Howard takes the old man, tries to sit him on the toilet, but in the process he gets faeces on his hands and trying to wash it quickly, with high pressure water…
On the face!
Justin aka Ewen Bremner- best known from Trainspotting and T2- is also there to create mischief, pestering a woman who had a very brief affair with him, in a moment where “he could have been a donkey for all she cared” as the harassed character makes clear.
Nevertheless, the cherry on this cake is Peter, a dwarf that is present at the funeral, although he seems to know nobody and when asked, he reveals first a secret and then a plan to benefit from the story he knows, the pictures he has and the connection with the dear departed father.
The deceased is present in many photos with Peter and Daniel is puzzled by this rapprochement, intimacy of which he had known nothing, but the revelations go further until the son finds that his father had had an intimate relationship with this man who is complaining now…
"Now that he is gone, I am left with nothing, like a cheap whore"
What do you want then?
The figure of 15,000 pounds is there again, the amount needed for the new house- that is the first installment- the money that Robert, the popular, known but cheap brother would not contribute to the cost of the ceremony and now the sum that may be offered for silence.
If the brothers do not pay, the photographs demonstrating the homosexuality – or is it bi-sexuality in this case? - of the parent would be a well-known fact and the family will have to face the embarrassment- in a way, it is not clear why they should be so upset- in the modern age, this sort of revelation should be, if not a common thing, at least no cause for a breakdown.
However, Daniel and Peter have a dispute, the latter has read the manuscript left on the desk and there are some comments that drive the former crazy, and in the heat of the fight, the two are on the floor, the brothers try to immobilize their adversary and finally, they resort to…Valium.
Only the pills in the infamous box are the perilous formula that has transformed Simon into a Dazed and Confused chicken and this time, to make sure they take the blackmailer out, the duo, joined by Howard and the inventive chemist, Troy, have given the victim not just one, but a large number of pills.
The old uncle is causing a commotion and while the excrement is removed, the prisoner, tied and sedated to a maximum degree, falls on the table and dies, this being the Death at a Funeral from the title and which brings about a climax of confusion, agitation and desperation.
What will we do with the body is a question that has been out there for so long, only here it has a more creative solution, for the four Wise Guys decide to put the short dead man in the coffin with his former lover, in a sixty nine position no less, which attracts some inevitable jocularity seeing as the “deceased parent might have been thrilled by this arrangement”
This is not all, further developments add to the hilarity, the havoc, horror, outcry of those present that are faced with the unimaginable and they have to cope with new adversities, apart from the tragic event they are there to share in, with dead people rising up and more.
This is an original and funny comedy.