Cast: Hank Azaria, Ray Romano, Kelly Preston, Jesse Bradford, Famke Janssen, Zooey Deschanel, Glenne Headly, Debra Winger, Rip Torn, Piper Laurie
Director: Michael Clancy
Genre: Comedy
Rated: M sexual references, drug use, medium level coarse language, adult themes
Running Time: 90 Minutes

Last rites. Last words. Last laughs.

When three generations of a deliciously dysfunctional family gather to bury the family patriarch, the beloved granddaughter of the deceased is given the task of delivering the eulogy. In the days leading up to the funeral, family secrets are revealed, old grudges resurface and the household erupts with renewed vigour. A wickedly irreverent comedy, 'EULOGY' is ultimately a heart-warming portrait of a houseful of misfits celebrating the strangest and most enduring bond of all: family.

My Verdict:
Charlotte (Piper Laurie) and Edmund (Rip Torn) Collins have four children - Skip (Ray Romano), Daniel (Hank Azaria), Lucy (Kelly Preston) and Alice (Debra Winger). Edmund dies suddenly and all the children and the grandchildren gather at the family home for his funeral, with Daniels daughter Kate (Zooey Deschanel) being elected to perform a eulogy at his funeral. The Collins family are one very dysfunctional family, full of eccentric and unconventional characters, who now only gather on special occasions, and 'Eulogy' clearly explains why this family rarely meet. As the family renew their relationships, they all constantly test each other to the absolute limit, each for different reasons with these exchanges making 'Eulogy' a black and at times very bizarre comedy.

Zooey Deschanel is a standout as Kate and is the least affected character in this ensemble performance, which is remarkable given that she is the daughter of a single father actor (Daniel) who peaked at age 8 in a peanut butter commercial and is now on the porn movie circuit. Kate intends to give her grandfather a fitting eulogy and tries to eke out of Edmunds children, the type of man he was, which is harder than it seems. Debra Winger milks the role of Alice for all it's worth, carrying a rather large chip on her shoulder and talking incessantly, rarely stopping to breathe, dishing up the most vile looking dinner for all the family and speaking on behalf of her husband Bert and their three mute children. Kelly Preston as Lucy, arrives with her fiancé, Judy (Famke Janssen) and continues to mutter non-stop about non-acceptance. Piper Laurie is just a little too much as the perpetually suicidal Charlotte, this definitely being a case where less would have been more. But the biggest cheer is for Ray Romano as Skip and his two misfit twins, Fred and Ted. Now this is a family unit that epitomises the weird and wacky. 'Eulogy' is the perfect opportunity for Romano to produce his trademark deadpan delivery and he uses every chance he can get, cornering the best lines.

The course of 'Eulogy' takes a couple of days, obviously concluding with Edmunds funeral and the tear-jerking eulogy by Kate but the ride is not always smooth with some gags clearly left smouldering, but these are made up for by some truly hilarious moments. This is a fun, black comedy that definitely ends with a bang.

Rating : B-

Christina Bruce


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