'Death' Is a Seriously Lethal Farce

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DEATH AT A FUNERAL. Directed by Frank Oz, with Matthew Macfadyen, Andy Nyman, Keeley Hawes, Ewen Bremner, Daisy Donovan, Alan Tudyk Jane Asher and Peter Dinklage.


Death at a Funeral is lethal farce, combining hints of The Lavender Hill Mob, doses of Joe Orton and a smidgen of the Farrelly brothers' scatology in its mix. It's sillier but funnier than Knocked Up.

Plopped on Agatha Christie-like terrain and featuring a mostly English cast - British-born director Frank Oz is at the helm - the movie has a trans-oceanic pearl in the form of actor Alan Tudyk, a Texas-born off-Broadway veteran.

Here Tudyk glories in a hilarious, largely silent performance involving one of the story's daf-fier plot twists. He plays a stiff businessman named Simon who, before arriving at the funeral of the title, inadvertently swallows a tab of homemade hallucinogens stored in a bottle labelled Valium.

What ought to be a cobwebbed echo of I Love You, Alice B Toklas is fresh and hysterical, thanks to Tudyk's winsome charm, timing and elastic, Stan Laurel-like face.

He winds up nude atop the upper-middle-class home in which the funeral takes place, yet manages to make every scene he's in work. …