$2.50 Reviews: Eulogy (2004)

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$2.50 Reviews

Eulogy

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If I were to tell you that there's a dark comedy out there starring Zooey Deschanel, Hank Azaria, Ray Romano, and Famke Janssen, among others, would you even need more convincing? Would I even have to mention that it's really, really funny if you're into that sort of thing? Or would you stop reading right after you read the cast list and seek out a way to view the movie they're all in. If the answer is yes, then you should go see Eulogy, which is the film I'm talking about here.

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As is often the case when a eulogy gets involved, there has been a death in the family. Edmund Collins (Rip Torn, who appears only on a television set and as a corpse), has finally kicked the basket, leaving his family to mourn. Except that's not what they do. Nobody seemed to care too much about the death, as most of them weren't too fond of the man. It's decided that his eldest granddaughter, Kate (Deschanel), will be the one to give the eulogy, as none of his four children can be bothered to do it. Man, he must have been a terrible father, or maybe this family just has far too many problems both related and unrelated to the newly deceased.

As the film progresses, we learn that this is almost certainly the case. Eulogy isn't really about Edmund or about what's going to be said about the dead man. No, it's far more concerned about dealing with the family of the living and all of their issues. And let me tell you, there are a boatload of them. In fact, for a film that plays for around 90 minutes, there are probably too many. I actually had trouble keeping track of each character and their thoughts and feelings toward everyone else.

It would be futile to list the characters, nor do I think I'd be able to. There are too many to properly count; there are four children of the dead, his wife, and then their multiple grandchildren. Personalities are abound, and it'll take you a while to get adjusted to the sheer amount of stuff that's going on at any one point. You'll initially be overloaded, and I think it's worth watching the film a second time just so that you'll be up to speed during its earlier portions.

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And, of course, it's also wickedly funny, assuming you're okay with a little dark comedy. I laughed out loud several times throughout its running time, and chuckled even more frequently. This is just my kind of movie, and while I know it's not for everyone -- comedies almost never are -- I know that I enjoyed it because I found it hilarious. Explaining why would ruin part of the fun, so you're just going to have to trust me on this one. Hopefully you won't be disappointed.

Even if you're not laughing, there's at least enough going on to hold your attention. You'll want to learn all there is to know about these characters, and since there certainly is a lot, you'll always have something occupying your mind. This is beneficial even for those of you who will find it funny, as it gives the picture added depth, but if you're not laughing, at least you have something to watch for. There are so many different personalities at play here, and you'll probably see one or two that your recognize from your own family.

I think that's why Eulogy will end up resonating with a lot of people: There are so many characters all with unique personalities, making the odds fairly high that you'll be able to pick out some that you know. You'll laugh as they act so similarly to the people that you know and (hopefully) love that you'll just have to be having fun. And if that doesn't happen, the dialogue and the deadpan delivery from some of the characters will have you in stitches.

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Eulogy does have one major problem, and that comes from the characters all seeming to exist on different planes, leading to a lack of chemistry. They all have different personalities, sure, but they frequently come off as existing in their own little world. While there are definitely a ton of arguments and fights that go on, it's hard to really believe in them because none of the characters feel like they're in the same world together. It's like they really don't know each other, and are just meeting the rest of their family for the first time -- and this is in spite of all the past issues that get brought up; it's a really weird feeling.

Thankfully, it still works because of the actors, most of whom have great comedic timing and all fit their character's personalities to a T. I don't know many people who would turn down watching Deschanel, Azaria and Romano all together in the same movie, and they, unsurprisingly, end up being the stars. There are two profane twins that play Romano's kids, and they're quite funny, too, so be on the lookout for them.

Eulogy is a funny black comedy with a ton of interesting personalities and performances scattered throughout its brief but effective runtime. It doesn't all gel together perfectly, and it's hard to take everything in at the beginning, but once both you and the film click into a groove, it's smooth sailing from thereon in. I laughed a ton during this movie, and when I wasn't laughing, I was genuinely interested in these characters. If black comedy is your thing, and you want to see a family in disarray, Eulogy is the film for you.

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Your review has me looking for it on Netflix, thanks!

At the begging? I think if you went into editing a bunch of little red lines would appear underneath that.

It has its moments, but it didn't work for me. It jumps the shark quite ridiculously at the halfway mark and even though it recovers somewhat, that moment leaves one character in particular with a bizarre shtick and an incredibly uneven film. By the end of it, scenes go from attempts at solemn to humorous to solemn to humorous again (and the constant change in music to reflect it is distracting).

I also couldn't tell whether they were unable to flesh the script out, or if they had something longer and cut loads of stuff out - some of the editing between scenes is really choppy, and, like you said, there's a real overflow of characters.

Honestly, the whole time I was wishing that I was watching The Royal Tenenbaums yet again.

Grabing this tonight, thanks.

This has always been one of my favourite movies. Actually it's the very worst of the very best in my book, sitting at the bottom of my top movies list. Which is odd because dark comedies are hit or miss with me and even if I do like one, I often don't love it. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it too, Marter. Scratch that, I'm just glad someone else has heard of this movie :/

 

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