Much like the original British version, this movie is stuffed to the gills with comedic moments; some are so golden they make it worth seeing, while others should have just been thrown out. First, the upsides: The film works so hard to make you laugh, you can't resist. One after another, the jokes pile up, and even though most of them are just plain juvenile -- the scatological jokes, the loopy, drugged-out-but-hilarious mess that is James Marsden -- you can't help but laugh. (The poop jokes, which center around the talented Tracy Morgan and, surprisingly, the usually grave Danny Glover, are so Comedy 101 that, had the movie not been laced with profanity, a preschooler would've been rolling in the aisles at those scenes. Who knew director Neil LaBute, better known for dramas, was so proficient with them?)
Still, some bits are plain tired: It's nice to see Luke Wilson onscreen, but his character really doesn't bring much to the table. An ancillary storyline about mother-daughter tensions contributes so little to the film's comedic impact -- besides, it's cliched -- as to be superfluous. And though Marsden milks every moment of its comedic value, some of his scenes could've fallen to the editing floor, too; there just are too many. Pared down, Death at a Funeral could've been a perfectly distilled batch of pure comedy. Will it elevate the genre? Hardly. But funny? That it is.