LAST RITES… AND WRONGS.
When his father dies, Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen) arranges the funeral, but everything goes awry from the moment when the wrong body is delivered to the ceremony. Comedy veteran Frank Oz strikes back with another hilarious movie, this time a classically structured farce set in Britain, appropriately enough. The story takes place almost in real time and involves a great number of relatives and friends who all have their little quirks; the dearly departed also had a secret that throws the funeral into chaos. Quickly picking up speed, the film becomes very funny, especially thanks to the efforts of the dedicated cast. There’s also tenderness near the end, but not in a mushy way.
2007-U.S.-U.K.-The Netherlands-Germany. 91 min. Color. Produced by Sidney Kimmel, Laurence Malkin, Diana Phillips, Share Stallings. Directed by Frank Oz. Screenplay: Dean Craig. Cast: Matthew Macfadyen (Daniel), Keeley Hawes (Jane), Andy Nyman (Howard), Ewen Bremner, Daisy Donovan, Alan Tudyk… Peter Dinklage.
Trivia: Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes are married also in real life. Remade in the U.S. as Death at a Funeral (2010), and twice in India.
Last word: “I was very fortunate, because I didn’t want stars. We couldn’t afford stars, and they turned us down. In fact, the Peter Dinklage character part was written for a normal-sized person. It wasn’t written for a dwarf or for Peter, not at all. But understandably, what happens is the studios want to get stars to some degree, so they can sell the movie. Well, a few stars turned us down, and I was thrilled because I didn’t want stars. I wanted really wonderful actors who weren’t there yet; I hope as a result of this movie, they’ll get noticed.” (Oz, Ain’t It Cool)