The cast of Eulogy is impressive. It is a large zany ensemble comedy with star from television and movies, from today and yesterday. It's all the more impressive given that this is the first feature length film for writer/director Michael Clancy. What is not clear is what drew everybody to Eulogy. It has its moments, but feels more like a sitcom on crack than a movie. Clancy provides a non-stop barrage of one-liners and jokes, some of which work and many of which don't. Enough of them do work to keep Eulogy interesting, although there is a forced sense of looniness present among the Collins clan. As always, Zooey Deschanel (Elf, All the Real Girls) is the sole voice of reason and sanity. As Kate, it is incumbent upon her to deliver the Eulogy at her grandfather Edmund's (Rip Torn, Dodgeball, Welcome to Mooseport) funeral.
To say that the Collins' hate each other is an understatement. Yet, they all go to stay at Edmund and Charlotte's (Piper Laurie, The Mao Game, The Faculty) as funeral preparations begin. Kate (Deschanel) arrives with her father Daniel (Hank Azaria, Dodgeball, Along Came Polly), a famous child actor now reduced to acting in porn (in the non-porn parts). Joining them are Skip (Ray Romano, Welcome to Mooseport, Ice Age) and his twin sons Fred and Ted (Curtis and Keith Garcia). All three of these guys are horny, no matter what. So when Lucy (Kelly Preston, The Cat in the Hat, What a Girl Wants) shows up with her girlfriend Judy (Famke Janssen, X2, I Spy), Skip, Fred, and Ted are all in heaven. The final sibling is Alice (Debra Winger, Radio, Big Bad Love), the oldest sister who is extremely high strung and so overbearing that her children are silent and her husband only mumbles.
This is a powder keg, and each person is a lit match. Arguments flare up between various members of the family, and Clancy throws in all sorts of random humor. Charlotte continually tries to commit suicide, Fred and Ted either try to dare each other to do stunts, or make every attempt to watch Judy and Lucy make out. There is also a porn tape floating around, and yes, it actually does make sense within the confines of the script. And not only does Kate need to figure out what to say about her insane grandfather, but she also needs to figure out her relationship with Ryan (Jesse Bradford, Swimfan, Clockstoppers), her grandfather's neighbor. They got really close last summer, but she left before they could resolve anything.
One can never say that nothing is happening in Eulogy. There are so many characters that Clancy always has something going on. The main issue is that it is all a jumble of peripherally related events. Yes, everybody is here for the funeral, but it sometimes devolves into white noise. Without something concrete holding the story together, Eulogy sometimes plays like a bunch of skits strewn together. Deschanel is the only 'normal' member of the family, and acts like an anchor, grounding them to reality. It's not much of a stretch for her. It is much more fun watching Winger let loose in a role she usually does not play. The rest of the cast can do much better, but isn't given the opportunity to do so. Romano is coasting in his sitcom role, and Janssen and Azaria are barely there. It feels like everybody had a bunch of time between movies or television seasons, and got together to have some fun. It sure looks like they're having fun, but it doesn't quite translate to the viewer.
|Mongoose Rates It: Okay.|
|1 hour, 25 minutes, Rated R for language, sexual content, and drug use.|
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