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April 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Reviewers of the remake of the 2007 British farce Death at a Funeral are vritually equally divided between those who regard it as hilarious and those who apparently didn’t crack a smile. Among the former is the Chicago Sun-Times‘ Roger Ebert, who writes, “This is the best comedy since The Hangover, and although it’s almost a scene-by-scene remake … it’s funnier than the original.” Among the latter is Claudia Puig, who apparently enjoyed the original and concludes her review of this one in USA Today by remarking, “The only death at this funeral was that of a good movie.” Several critics note that the 2007 version flopped at the box office. A remake, notes Peter Howell in the Toronto Star “would seem to be the ultimate act of flogging a dead hearse.” However, he observes, “this revived Death doesn’t just stagger, it sprints. It’s a textbook example of how humor is all in the telling.” On the other hand, his crosstown confrere, Rick Groen at the Toronto Globe & Mail, who had no high regard for the British version, remarks, “Damned if the original isn’t looking like a comparative gem. … So much sameness, yet so fewer laughs.” Then there’s Christy Lemire of the Associated Press, who also notes that the original came out just three years ago. “It may seem a bit soon to resurrect it,” he writes, but “director Neil LaBute and an all-star cast nonetheless breathe surprising new life into the material.” Compare that reaction with Walter Addiego’s in the San Francisco Chronicle, who comments, “You can get away with almost anything in a farce except failing to be funny, and that’s what kills Death at a Funeral.” And sort of in the middle is Carrie Rickey, who sums up in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Verdict? Mixed. Loved the slapstick, winced at the toilet humor, and mourned that the female performers were given so little to do. Funeral is funnier the second time around.”