I have written about remakes before, often calling them superfluous and insulting, but this new one takes the cake! The trailer for Chris Rock's Death at a Funeral hit the interwebs today, and since I find him hilarious and the title sounded familiar, I clicked on. Though the supporting cast is a regular who's-who of urban cinema (Loretta Devine, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, Martin Lawrence, Columbus Short), the story is the spitting image of Alan Tudyk's death comedy of the same name from 2007.
2007! Not even a full three years later and a remake has already cropped up! And for what purpose? The technology hasn't changed drastically; a new generation hasn't become "ready" for the dry, self-deprecating humor. No, instead, the remake has been made to turn a British independent comedy into a big studio urban comedy...mockery!
I understand the desire to widen the story's audience because it is a clever concept: a dysfunctional family gathers at the funeral of the patriarch, only to learn he had a secret life. However, this particular remake is more insulting than any of the others I have written about because it insinuates that African American audiences won't see films that do not feature African American actors. Replacing the Brits with well-known black comics isn't doing anything revolutionary for the story but instead it is just marketing to another audience. Once again, studio bigwigs are proving to be extremely narrow-minded and incapable of thinking outside of any traditional boxes.