Remakes have existed for as long as cinema has and usually all into one of two categories: an update of an old movie or the remake of a foreign one. I find both equally annoying and two recent examples are currently reminding me of everything I hate about the practice.
The first one is Death at a Funeral, a remake of a 2007 British film also titled Death at a Funeral. Typically, Americans do not like to read subtitles and foreign language works rarely get played in theaters outside of big international cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. So I was a little confused as to why this hilarious English-language flick should be getting an American update. I know Brits and Yankees have vastly different accents when they speak English but really… I don’t see much of a language barrier here. In the case of Death at a Funeral, it was thought that the subtler European style of humour wouldn’t translate well overseas and so the American version stoops to lower comedic standards in order to reach a broader audience.
The second remake that rubs me the wrong way is the upcoming Dinner for Schmucks featuring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell. Being the remake of an excellent French film this one hits home! Le Diner de Cons came out in 1998 and was written and directed by Francis Veber, a prolific maker of comedies who is no strangers to remakes: his 1978 hit La Cage aux Folles was remade into the Birdcage a few years ago. The trailer for Dinner for Schmucks was just released and while I knew this American version was coming, I cannot help but cringe every time I watch it. Yes, a part of me is happy that new audiences will discover this comedic French gem of a film, but another part of me is sad and even mad that it has to be Americanized in order to meet the success that it has always deserved.
Are you planning on seeing Death at a Funeral? Or Dinner for Schmucks when it comes out on July 23rd? Have you seen either original films? Why or why not?