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'Death at a Funeral'

A father's death brings a family together — physically, at least — in a brightly funereal farce that mixes last rites with comic wrongs.

Sibling rivalry between a successful writer and his unpublished brother, a drug-dealing cousin's habit of filling valium bottles with psychedelics, a sister's arrival with her very nervous fiance, and a funeral home that sends the wrong corpse? All part of the setup. And when a dwarf shows up with some photos suggesting a heretofore unguessed-at alliance with Dad, things heat up considerably.

Director Frank Oz fills the screen with Muppetlike faces, and the day's comic catastrophes pile up with Monty Pythonish excess. None of it is remotely plausible, but slapsticky British comedy hasn't been this loose and idiotic since A Fish Called Wanda.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.