A family tries to give an appropriate funeral for its late patriarch. Cue epic sibling rivalry, accidental acid tripping, dwarf secret gay lovers, nudity, blackmail and caskets being knocked over.
In what must be something of a record for an English language movie, an American remake starring Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Zoe Saldana, James Marsden and Danny Glover was released just three years later in 2010, which kept the overall tone of a black comedy... but not in that way. Peter Dinklage reprised his role.
The original film contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Justin to Martha, and then to Katie.
- Animated Credits Opening: A cartoon showing a drawing of a coffin wending its way through a street map of London, until it gets to the family home, as the opening credits roll. There's also a Call-Back at the end of the closing credits where we see a cartoon of the coffin placed in the ground, where grass grows over it.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The recently deceased father turns out to have been a closeted homosexual. The sons can't stand each other. The sons have two cousins: one has a boyfriend her father despises, and the other is a drug dealer crafting hallucinogens in his kitchen.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: It's no coincidence that Martha ends up announcing her pregnancy during the funeral.
- Blackmail: Peter, the father's gay lover, turns up at the funeral and threatens to reveal all unless Daniel and Robert pay him off.
- Bound and Gagged: Daniel and Robert tie Peter up when he threatens to tell everyone about his affair with their father.
- Bury Your Gays: Played with, then averted. Peter, who appeared to have fallen over and broken his neck while whacked out on Troy's speed, wakes up and hops out of the coffin.
- Butt-Monkey: Daniel, especially when compared to his brother Robert. Howard, too.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Seemingly played straight near the end when Martha/Elaine tells off Victor/Duncan near the end over opposing her upcoming marriage... except he's really spent the entire movie watching his daughter's fiancee act like an unaccountable lunatic, nobody's told him he was unwittingly under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, and at the end of the scene, the man's simply left saddened and shocked while the story moves on.
- Chekhov's Gun: The "valium", actually a powerful hallucinogen. First given to Simon to calm him down before a meeting with his prospective father-in-law, with disastrous effects. Then given to Peter by Daniel and Robert when they're trying to stop him from disrupting the funeral, because they don't know it's not real Valium either. Then finally taken by crotchety old Uncle Alfie, which leaves him naked on the roof at the end of the film.
- Contemplating Your Hands: During Simon's trip.Simon: Why are my hands so big?
- Cramming the Coffin: The deceased's diminutive gay lover gets knocked out after his attempts to blackmail the two sons goes wrong, and the sons, thinking that they'd accidentally killed him, hide him in their father's coffin. Naturally, he wakes up at the worst possible time.
- Dead Man's Chest: After Peter dies, a frantic Daniel and Robert hide his corpse in their father's coffin.
- Foreshadowing: Just listen to the father's favorite Bible passage and then take into account The Reveal. (It's the very homoerotic opening verses to the 18th chapter of 1 Samuel.)
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": A funeral is the setting for a wacky farce comedy.
- Hypochondria: Howard suffers from this.
- Intoxication Ensues: Simon takes what he thinks is a Valium to calm himself down on the way to the funeral. It turns out to be a much more powerful psychotropic drug, made by Troy the drug dealer.
- Mushroom Samba: Leads to naked roof climbing. Twice.
- Naked People Are Funny: Simon climbing the roof naked. Uncle Alfie sitting naked on the roof at the end of the film. Even the poster is an example of this trope!
- Never Trust a Title: No one actually dies at the funeral.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. It turns out that Daniel and Robert's father had a gay lover.
- Not Quite Dead: Peter, believed to be dead and hidden in his lover's coffin, leaps out of it in the middle of the funeral service.
- Queer People Are Funny: A lot of humor when Robert and Daniel find out their father was gay, and start putting all the pieces together—the homoerotic Bible verse at the funeral service, their father's penchant to get all his friends skinnydipping in their youth, the collection of homoerotic art in their father's study, the goofy pictures of Peter and their dad out on dates, and that one picture that remains unseen but shocks everyone.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Uncle Alfie curses, hits family members with his cane, orders people around, and bluntly says what's on his mind simply because he's old.
- She Is All Grown Up: Robert observes this about Katie.
- Sibling Rivalry: Between Daniel, The Unfavorite of nearly everyone in the family, and Robert, whom everyone loves because of his successful writing career.
- Stalker with a Crush: Justin is this towards Martha, so much so he's a borderline male Abhorrent Admirer. Justin constantly follows Martha around and hits on her no matter how many times she tells him she's in love with Simon. Justin immediately loses interest after finding out Martha is pregnant.
- Straight Man: Daniel, very much so. He is thoroughly regular and normal, and acts as a foil to all his weird, crazy relatives.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: "Everything's so fucking green!"
- Video Credits: The credits have shots of the main cast members all laughing after they blow lines.
The American remake contains examples of:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Most of the people in the original are mostly fairly normal looking or somewhat attractive. The American film includes the likes of Zoe Saldana and James Marsden.
- Amazing Freaking Grace: James Marsden bursts into song while tripping.
- Ascended Extra: The lead character's wife (Keeley Hawes in the original and Regina Hall in the remake) gets a somewhat bigger role and a subplot about trying to get pregnant.
- Denser and Wackier: The American version is an exaggerated Large Ham equivalent to the original less-hammy British comedy.
- Foreign Remake: Made... three years after the first one's theatrical release in America.
- Race Lift: The entire cast with the exception of Frank/Peter (Peter Dinklage played the same part in both films), Simon/Oscar and Justin/Derek.
Aaron: Our father was having gay sex with a guy who could fit in his pocket... and you're mad 'cause he's white?
- Which allowed for this bit of dialogue:
- The original contained a similar line, but the sticking point was that he was American, not white.
- Also used to punch up the joke in the opening scene, where the funeral home not only delivers the wrong body, but it's an Asian man.
- Remake Cameo: A variation. Peter Dinklage actually played in the same role in both films.
- She Is All Grown Up: Ryan says this when he sees that a family friend has grown from a girl to a voluptuous young woman.