Eulogy

Eulogy

Director: Michael Clancy Cast: Hank Azaria, Jesse Bradford, Zooey Deschanel
4.7 4

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Eulogy 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Newcomer Michael Clancy makes his debut as writer-director with one of the darkest, and funniest, comedies of the year, 'Eulogy.' The premise is simple - three generations come together for the funeral of the family patriarch. Grandpa has just passed and the clan gathers at Grandma's house to prepare for the ceremonious occasion and, of course, to write the eulogy. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much of a positive nature to be said about Gramps; actually, there doesn't seem to be too much to be said of a positive nature about anyone in the family. Just ask them! And it's this delectable portrayal of multi-generational dysfunctional bickering, secrets, backstabbing, finger-pointing and one- upsmanship that makes this film work. (Did Clancy visit my family recently? I wonder.) Eldest son, Skip Collins is anything but lovable. With lawyer with a dour face and personality to match, if he ever smiled his face would crack. And making his family even more blessed, he has two obnoxious twin sons that give new meaning to the term 'hell on wheels.' Daniel is a wannabe actor whose biggest claim to fame is one peanut butter commercial he did as a child. Seems now the only work he can grab is as a wannabe porn star. Daughter Lucy brings the shock factor to the table when she arrives with her lesbian lover (and provides even more fuel for the comic fodder) while eldest daughter, control freak Alice does her usual best at trying to run the show and all the while wishing she was 'anywhere here.' And let's not forget Grandma who herself has a bit of a suicidal streak. Rounding out the brood are the various spouses and grandchildren, especially Katie, who was the apple of her grandfather's eye. Katie has the dubious honor of overseeing the preparation of the eulogy - and on keeping tabs on her 'beloved' relatives. As the family sits around the dinner table to write the eulogy, catch up, insult, berate, try to write the eulogy, criticize, confront, antagonize and ultimately, try again to write a eulogy, we start to understand why Grandpa was so distant with his heirs and why no one can think of anything nice to say about the man. Seems Grandpa had as many secrets, if not more, than the beloved family he has left behind. Ray Romano, of whom I have never been too impressed, is perfect as Skip. So familiar as the lovable Raymond from television, he is the complete opposite here and it comes as a pleasant surprise. Hank Azaria is, as usual, over the top as he plays the part of Daniel to the hilt pushing the envelope to his most obnoxious best. A real coup was the casting of semi-retired Debra Winger as Alice whose natural freneticism makes the character even more believable. But it is Zooey Deschanel as Katie who stands out as the real winner in this ensemble. Blending a nice balance of heartfelt emotion and sincerity with the more acerbic family traits she, more than anyone else, connects most with the audience. And of course, Piper Laurie and Rip Torn as Grandma and Grandpa are beyond hysterically funny. A stellar cast, albeit seemingly overqualified for their roles at times, keep the story moving along at an enjoyable pace and deliver some classic performances with deadpan comic timing. The dichotomy of the mean-spirited family members and the serenity of the beautiful New England setting plays up to the dark comedy of the film's intent. Clancy's script, allegedly based on some of his own family experiences (hopefully, a bit over- exaggerated here) is witty to the core, and although it never quite attains the level of being a consistently dark comedy, he definitely hits the darker end of the gray scale with every utterance. Adding to the meld of dialogue and delivery, are the antics and events that provide fuel for even more cutting family wackiness and sarcasm. Who can
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