Eulogy

"OK"

Eulogy Review


Michael Clancy's Eulogy is sort of a sitcom version of The Royal Tenenbaums, with its estranged family united by a dying (well, in this case, dead) patriarch who no one particularly likes (played here, briefly, by Rip Torn). The most sympathetic and grounded member of the family is Kate (Zooey Deschanel); she is chosen to deliver her grandfather's eulogy, and must extract scarce fond memories from her father Daniel (Hank Azaria) and his siblings Skip, Lucy, and Alice (Ray Romano, Kelly Preston, and Debra Winger, respectively).

Standard black-comedy stuff, then, though not without promise. Clancy doesn't have a strong directorial touch, operating only a level or two above the point-and-shoot techniques of an actual sitcom -- and a little lower when it comes to the laugh-track ready entrances and exits. But he does capture the feel -- the shabby decor, the lines of cereal boxes, the personal trepidation -- of a reluctant and unkempt family gathering. The Collins family is trapped in the family home until the funeral is over, foraging for emotional connections purely out of necessity. Whether this authenticity is achieved through close observation or a low budget is not immediately apparent; regardless, Eulogy's distaff family unit is more or less convincing -- as a whole, at least.

That's not necessarily enough. Clancy's screenplay has some good lines, especially from Romano's sleazy Skip, but it also includes character-sized miscalculations like Skip's twin hellraising sons, Fred and Ted (Curtis and Keith Garcia). They're just like any other smart-mouthed TV brats, only more vulgar; their creepy pre-pubescent leering is probably supposed to play to the Comedy Central crowd, but it's more like a group-written Sitcom Extreme.

The whole movie is like that, rising and falling on the strength of what Clancy gives to his talented cast and how the actors navigate it. The most clunk-proof is Zooey Deschanel, an actress almost impossible to dislike. Although her low-key sarcasm is replaced here with low-key reactions like widening or rolling her eyes, she's a good choice to play the one family member who (somewhat inexplicably) sees good in her departed grandfather, approaching the eulogizing with disarming sincerity. Hank Azaria has an easy and unforced father-daughter chemistry with Deschanel, reminding us that he's available for more than funny accents in Ben Stiller movies.

Debra Winger, on the other hand, is given a near-unplayable part: Alice is somehow simultaneously uptight, snarky, manic, and homophobic, and gains would-be sympathetic traits only because the screenplay arbitrarily assigns her some. It's a shrill and graceless performance, but probably not Winger's fault. Kelly Preston's Lucy is stuck reacting almost exclusively to Alice, which effectively functions as a developmental prison for her underwritten character.

So with its half-affecting, half-crass characters and half-funny, half-strained jokes, Eulogy is the very definition of hit and miss. Eventually it tips the balance of a real family gathering, which Clancy is presumably trying to evoke: You may not have a terrible time, but you're not necessarily glad you showed up.

The DVD adds a number of extended, deleted, and alternate scenes.

Wake lobster.



Eulogy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 24th February 2005

Box Office USA: $41.8k

Distributed by: Lions Gate Films

Production compaines: Myriad Pictures, Eulogy Productions LLC, Ovation Entertainment, Artisan Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Kirk D'Amico

Starring: as Daniel Collins, as Ryan Carmichael, as Kate Collins, as Samantha, as Judy Arnolds, as Lucy Collins, as Skip Collins, as Edmund Collins, as Alice Collins, as Charlotte Collins, as Aunt Lily, as Video Store Clerk, as Parson Banke

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.