Opening 19 Jul 2007
Dear oh dear, how can so many talented people squander their talents in such an awful movie? Six words are all that are needed to sum it up: bad language, bad jokes, bad plot. Screenwriter Dean Craig has lots of well-to-do people meeting in one of those gorgeous English country houses that you only see in American movies. A funeral is about to take place in the house. Daniel (Matthew MacFadyen) and Robert (Rupert Graves) are mourning their father whilst feuding with each other. Daniel has promised his wife Jane (Keeley Hawes) a down payment on a flat, but he has nothing left after paying for the funeral. He asks Robert to contribute half of the cost and is dismayed to learn that his famous author brother, living the high life in N.Y.C., is broke. The behaviour of their cousins, Troy (Kris Marshall) and Martha (Daisy Donovan), provide much of the story. Their father, Victor (Peter Egan), abhors Martha’s fiancé Simon (Alan Tudyk). Simon’s strange behaviour after being given a Valium, which is actually a cocktail of hallucinatory drugs, does nothing to endear him to his future father-in-law. The bottle of Valium, the people who swallow its contents and the sinister stranger who tries to blackmail Daniel and Robert provide much of the so-called humour of the movie.
The acting is wonderful and the plot has many twists and turns, but it all falls flat. Director Frank Oz doesn’t seem to realise that puerile bathroom jokes and foul language aren’t appreciated by the audiences a movie such as this usually hopes to attract. (Jenny Mather)