Once the enfant terrible of misogynistic movies (see 1997’s In the Company of Men), Neil LaBute has moved on to remakes. His take on a 1973 horror classic (The Wicker Man) is either classically horrible or classically brilliant. (Nicolas Cage stars, so it could be both.)
LaBute’s latest, a redux of Frank Oz’s 2007 funeral farce, uses the same lackluster script. In the wake of his 2008 race-baiting thriller, Lakeview Terrace, I wasn’t surprised to see him replace the Brits of Oz’s original with a largely African-American cast — Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Danny Glover, and Zoe Saldana play friends and relatives.
I was shocked that race barely factors, what with James Marsden appearing as Saldana’s acid-tripping boyfriend and Peter Dinklage reprising his role as a dwarf with a giant secret. The biggest surprise is that feeble material from three years ago feels even more farcical in the age of Obama.