The Ex

Starring Matthew Macfayden, Rupert Graves, Alan Tudyk, Peter Vaughan, Peter Dinklage. Directed by Frank Oz
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rated: Rated M (frequent coarse language, moderate drug themes, moderate sexual references and nudity)
The death of Daniel (Macfadyen) and Robert's (Graves) father brings their entire dysfunctional family together to mourn his passing.

On the morning of the funeral, the family and friends of the deceased each arrive with his or her own anxieties. Son Daniel knows he will have to face his flirty, blow-hard, famous-novelist brother Robert who's just flown in from New York, not to mention the promises of a new life he's made to his wife Jane (Keely Hawes). Meanwhile, Daniel's cousin Martha (Daisy Donovan) and her dependable new fiancé Simon (Alan Tudyk) are desperate to make a good impression on Martha's uptight father - a plan that literally goes out the window when Simon accidentally ingests a designer drug en route to the service, leaving him prone to uncontrollable bouts of delirium and nudity in front of his potential in-laws.

Then comes the real shocker: a mysterious guest (Dinklage) threatens to unveil an earth-shattering family secret. It is now up to the two brothers to hide the truth from their family and friends and figure out how to not only bury their beloved father, but the secret he's been keeping.

A dignified send-off for Dad erupts into chaos as romance, jealousy, in-laws, hallucinogens, dark secrets, life-long yearnings and a spot of blackmail all collide in this irreverent British comedy.

There are some very funny moments in this pitch black comedy. But to get to them you have to sit through some very coarse language, sex jokes and extremely bad taste.

Death at a Funeral reminded me of the much more family-friendly British comedy, Love Actually. There are so many eccentric characters on the screen that we get tired of keeping up with them all. The plot is similarly busy, so we are not sure which one will win out in the end. On the way through the writers and director throw everything at the audience to get the laughs.

We are not meant to take any of it seriously - an old fashioned British romp - which is just as well, because the values behind the story are deadly.

Icon 11th October

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.