Screenwriter Dean Craign exhibits a real feel for the way that a crisis brings out age-old hostilities. Craig uses humor as a cover-up to say something about the way families pull apart as well as together at difficult times.
It takes a while for Frank Oz's ensemble black comedy Death at a Funeral to hit its deliriously nutty stride. But when it does, the laughs don't stop until the movie, like the subject of its family get-together, has taken its last breath.
A well-crafted British farce -- albeit one with an American director, Frank Oz, working the controls - this throwback to the haughty high jinks of vintage Ealing comedies begins with an obvious, but effective, gag.
Dying is easy, comedy is hard, as the saying goes. A comedy about dying, especially a British farce, requires a specifically light, deft touch, which director Frank Oz achieves only about half the time in Death at a Funeral.
The tension in Death at a Funeral is between good manners and good comedy, something [director] Oz exploits throughout. Humor has a decided British accent, given that it's all about making genteel people cringe.