EULOGY. 2004

Director: Michael Clancy

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Eulogy (2004) is a mediocre oddball comedy about a funeral gathering by a dysfunctional family. They have come together to remember grampa & act out their sundry & clashing madnesses. The family is mostly uninteresting, mostly unfunny, & occasionally outright hateful.

We suffer through the antics of such characters as follow: 1-2) Horny little twin boys (Curtis & Keith Garcia) in training as future incestuous rapists. 3) Hank Azaria as the failed actor whose greatest success was a childhood television commercial which he's still quoting as though it'd been Shakespeare. 3) Zooey Deschanel as the granddaughter with the good heart, apparently shipped in from another family altogether. 4) Piper Laurie as the sucidal grandma.

Plus there are;, 5-7), the evil sister Alice (Debra Winger) spouting homophobic nonsense at her gay sister Lucy (Kelly Preston), being the film's villain until forced out of the closet herself, in the film's only could-have-been-hysterical-but-wasn't sequence of tribidating in the car with Samantha (Glenne Headly).

EulogyIt's not that everyone stinks. It's more like everyone whose acting is good enough to save bad material is undermined by the other half of the overlarge cast.

So Hank Azaria does as much as can be hoped with such terrible material, repeating his piss-poor one-liner. But any appeal he drums up is undermined by the presence of such uninteresting unfunny actors as Ray Romano who just purely sucks as Uncle Skip the standard-issue ignoramus.

Or, Famke Janssen is splendid as the lesbian girlfriend Judy. But Lucy's such an angry boring snit that the real question is why Judy would even be her friend, let alone her lover, which is not a question the story addresses.

Then again, Debra Winger as a closeted homophobe has the most complex role & almost makes her turnabout credible when she's supposed to instantly become a self-accepting dyke. But no actor in her presence is successfully contributing to Winger's performance & backing it up.

And in the background of Winger's character Alice are her henpecked-into-morbid-silence husband & the kids who aren't even made part of the story of their mother's transformation from harridan homemaker to an out & happier-than-her-gay-sister lesbian. It's like the writer never noticed this happy outcome for Alice means another branch of the family is just royally fucked.

Rip Torn is always good but we only see him on tape when the film's nearly over. Piper Laurie could've been spectacular, but the story can't wait to wrap her up like a mummy unable to speak so that the crappy-ass writers could focus instead on dialogue for dullard actors.

Eulogy is rather like a feature-length episode of something that had been intended as cable sitcom about an insane family. Hence there is vapid writing for way too many characters, too few properly cast, the drama too dumb to be dramatic & the comedy too weak to reach the funny bone.

It does have a middlingly good ending, once we're finished with the assinine revelations on the video tape left beyind by dead Grampa. The blown-up-on-the-lake Viking funeral finale manages to be both funny & poigant, but it was an awfully dull journey getting there.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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