Death at a Funeral Movie Poster Image

Death at a Funeral

Goofy burial digs up family secrets; not for kids.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Blackmail, pill-popping, and sibling rivalry galore. An older man tries to pick up a much younger woman at his father's funeral, another waits to pounce on his ex, and four men restrain -- and nearly kill -- a guest. Some homophobic jokes and scatological humor.

Violence

Men brawl in the middle of a solemn event; a woman attacks a guest once she discovers the scandalous secret he's harboring.

Sex

Nudity, though not of a sexual nature (a man's backside is in full view, once in closeup). No sexual encounters, though there are plenty of allusions to them. Two bodies are placed, fully clothed, in a compromising position.

Language

Nearly everyone swears a blue streak, including an octogenarian character. All the typical expletives are used, plus some British terms: "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "wanker," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A few guests are fed hallucinogenic drugs (one forcefully, the other accidentally) posing as Valium.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this British farce is a comedy, its adult themes -- mortality, mourning, in-law stress -- probably won't appeal to kids and younger teens. Which isn't to say that the grown-up characters act much like adults. In fact, they behave at their very worst (which makes for funny setups, but hardly stellar examples for impressionable young viewers). Sibling rivalry, sexual secrets, drug use, and more are all in the mix, and there's also plenty of profanity ("f--k," "s--t," "wanker") and a couple of shots of a bare butt (in a nonsexual way).

What's the story?

Apropos of its title, DEATH AT A FUNERAL opens on a somber note, with a hearse pulling up to an ivy-clad house where a grieving son, Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen), awaits. A casket is carried into the house, where the seriousness is dismissed when it's opened ... and Daniel says, "Pardon me. That's not my father." So begins the uproarious ride that director Frank Oz offers in this hilarious -- though far from perfect -- British comedy. An ensemble picture by virtue of its premise -- there's a funeral, and everyone's showing up, personal baggage in tow -- the film brings together many characters, all of whom, in the end, are transformed by the not-so-solemn event. Among them are Daniel's wife, Jane (Keeley Hawes), who sees his father's death as a chance for her and Daniel to finally escape her in-laws' home; Robert (Rupert Graves), Daniel's much more successful (and as a result, self-obsessed) novelist brother; and Howard (Andy Nyman), a hypochondriac schlub whose proximity to death only accentuates his fears. There's also Martha (Daisy Donavan) and her fiancé, Simon (Alan Tudyk), who's worried about being around his future father-in-law and inadvertently takes a tranquilizer that's apparently something else. Plus foul-mouthed Uncle Alfie (Peter Vaughan), who's incontinent, and Martha's ex, Justin (Ewan Bremmer), who's pining for her. And then there's Peter (Peter Dinklage), the stranger who shows up with an atomic secret to share.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

With so many eccentrics in attendance, each one loaded to the gills with quirks, Death at a Funeral is an embarrassment of comedic riches -- but it could have benefited from some editing. The laughter literally never ends, even when it's forced. The scatological bits, though reliably laugh-getting, seem grossly out of place and, worse, unnecessary. If Oz had cut an oddball character or two and a few extra gags, he'd have had a classic. That said, near the end -- when yet another twist is thrown in for good measure -- even resistant moviegoers will be pummeled into submission. You can't help but laugh, and out loud.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what happens when relatives gather for rituals -- anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, or, in this case, funerals. Why do they seem to bring out the worst in people (though everyone's supposed to be on their best behavior)? Is the atmosphere at these events really that pressured? Or does mayhem like this really only happen in the movies? What are funerals really for? How are they usually depicted in movies? How is this different?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 17, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:February 25, 2008
Cast:Alan Tudyk, Matthew Macfadyen, Rupert Graves
Director:Frank Oz
Studio:Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Genre:Comedy
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and drug content.

This review of Death at a Funeral was written by

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Adult Written byFiddlinMom April 9, 2008

Hilarious and Heartwarming

My husband and I initially saw this movie together and we both laughed and cried. We have a 14-year-old daughter who I felt would also enjoy the movie. She loved it too. Yes, the language is offensive. However, we don't speak like that at home. The drug use was not an issue. I did not feel it was glorified in any way. Our child was never exposed to TV or movies until the age of 8. She is well educated and knows the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse. The movie itself had wonderful character development. In the end, the characters could be your next door neighbors. I'd rather my child see a movie like this -- where people seem human with all their foibles -- than a movie that glorifies violence, drugs, sex, beautiful bodies, and the other negative media influences we see way too much of today. Go see it!
Kid, 9 years old April 18, 2009

Funniest and the best!

The funniest and best movie I ever saw- please watch if U are over 15. Extreme F-bombs, some sex related.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old April 29, 2010

perfect for 12+

i ove it it is hilarious