Wednesday, July 02, 2008

That last moment

I watched Death at a Funeral the other night, and although I really enjoyed most of the film and laughed a bit, and I enjoy so many of the actors in this movie, I have one major complaint about the ending.

This isn't really a spoiler because it doesn't tell you anything about the plot, but just in case you're really worried - COMPLETELY INSIGNIFICANT SPOILER WARNING.

You go through this story and you're laughing and enjoying yourself and thinking, hey that's that dude from MI-5 (aka Spooks) and he was kinda hot on that show but now he's kinda dorky, and then comes the end. And Peter Dinklage is the shit and Alan Tudyk completely steals the show and then comes the climax and there you have the movie.

But there's this coda. After the movie's essentially over Frank Oz decides to swoop in for one last joke. An old man who has been helpless in a wheelchair ends up sitting casually on the roof of the house. It's a funny joke, and I get why it was done, but it caused a major problem for me. This dude couldn't even lift himself out of the wheelchair to go to the bathroom earlier, and now he's up on a roof that we've already established is only reachable by ladder.

So instead of the end making me laugh, it just made me try to figure out how the hell he got up on the roof. I don't think that's the thought you'd want me leaving with. And yes, I know, suspension of disbelief and all, but that's not an excuse. You can't just do whatever you want and then excuse it by asking me to pretend I don't notice.

And God knows I'm not knocking Frank Oz. I mean, he's Frank Oz for fuck's sake. But I was just thinking it's something to remember about final moments in my own films. So I have a new rule to contemplate - don't let a punchline get in the way of the departing emotional state of the film's viewer.

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