Most comedies usually fail due to lack of actual comedy and originality. The last film to overcome that problem was Todd Phillip's The Hangover. The Hangover's raunchy humor and pure randomness are contributing factors to its success. In this case, Death at a Funeral is a hit and miss and nothing more.
Chris Rock stars as Aaron Barnes, a responsible man who must deal with family and friends as they become the reason he cannot honor his father properly. Martin Lawrence plays Ryan, Aaron's brother, who everyone adores and becomes one of Aaron's biggest problems. While dealing with an arrogant brother, a hormonal wife (Regina Hall) and a skeptical mother (Loretta Devine), Aaron is blackmailed by a dwarf named Frank (Peter Dinklage) who has photos of a sexual relationship with Aaron and Ryan's father.
The majority of the film's humor comes from James Marsden. Marsden portrays Oscar, the white guy secretly engaged to Elaine (Zoe Saldana). Oscar prowls through the film high on acid which was believed to be valium. The only person aware of Oscar's problem, aside from Elaine is her brother Jeff (Columbus Short), the owner of the alleged valium. The main reason Marsden is enjoyable to watch is because we get to see the actor loosen up and see the reactions of the dominating African-American cast.
The movie is enjoyable, laugh if you find it funny basically. The directing is simple as it's a pretty simple story and filled with comedy cliches. The movies is fun to watch but also a let down especially from the film's starring comedians Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence, in this case are surrounded by many talent. Two of the best supporting roles come from Tracy Morgan and Luke Wilson as Norman and Derek, respectively.
Having not seen the original film by Frank Oz, I cannot compare this film to its original. Neil LaBute's Death at a Funeral is something to pop in every now and again to pass the time for a quick laugh of some sort.