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Eulogy (2004)
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Review Date: November 04, 2004
Director: Michael Clancy
Writer: Michael Clancy
Producers: Kirk D’Amico, Lucas Foster, Steven Haft
Actors:
Zooey Deschanel as Kate
Ray Romano as Skip
Hank Azaria as Daniel
Plot:

The epitome of the ultimate dysfunctional family gets together for the death of their grandpapa and needless to say…zaniness, further dysfunction (most of which has to do with sex) and Ray Romano in a porno mustache…ensues.

Critique:
This film felt half-cooked. The cast is massive, the premise is a decent one – essentially a black comedy surrounding the death (and actual funeral) of the family grandpop – but ultimately, the film just didn’t have enough great humor to qualify as anything more than a lazy weekend video rental for those who appreciate the darker side of comedies. Even then, it only lasts about 80 minutes and doesn’t really offer any major laughs (other than Ray Romano’s breakdown vis-à-vis his father, after which he just looks at the joint in his hand and says “That’s some good shit”), with some pretty basic jokes through most of the film, and what seemed to me, a lot of purposely over-the-top scenarios whereby two sets of lesbians actually worked their way into the movie (alright, we get it…“movie lesbos” are hot…haha), one of the kids finds out that their mom used to be a porn actress and pretty much every single person in the film likes to smoke up. Ooooouuuuuh. I don’t know…it was like they were trying too hard to be different, not allowing the audience to get into a more realistic edge, so that the humor would be funnier (it’s like Homer Simpson once said, “It’s funny because it’s true!”). How true can it be that a father take his two 11-year old boys into a closet at night, in order to peek over a lesbian couple? That said, I did appreciate a handful of bits in the film, particularly the aforementioned dad of the two young kids, played very well by Ray Romano (good move on playing as part of an ensemble and against type), as well as the two boys themselves, who probably had some of the film’s best lines (despite being unbelievable, considering their age).

I’m also a big fan of Zooey Deschanel, and she pretty much starred in this film, so it wasn’t too difficult a task following her around most of the time. The lesbian couples were fine, but seemed too gimmicky after a while. The family’s widow was also a little too over-the-top versus the rest of the family, with a horrible CGI sequence featuring her jumping out of a van completely taking me out of the film (not that I was that into it by that point anyway). The film’s finale also attempts to get a little “mushy”, but by that point, there has been so much ridiculousness going on, that you can’t help but not believe a word of any of it (most of it also occurs as the dead man’s body is being pushed into a river on a rowboat while two kids are attempting to blow it up with fire-arrows). All in all, I’d recommend this film only to those who appreciate dark humor, but even then, the film really doesn’t have too many great laughs, goes by a little too fast, and despite featuring a number of engaging actors (maybe too many!), not enough memorable sequences to pay good money to see on the big screen. THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS…this is not.

(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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