Death At A Funeral

I'm always uncomfortable to see people reposessing material to appeal to a different demographic. I suppose it's related to seeing mainstream music and culture being assimilated and imitated for commercial use by Christian bands and t-shirt companies.

But I'm more uncomfortable with this because Chris Rock is a stand-up comedian of the highest order, who assumably obeys that code that comedian's are famed to follow: never steal a joke. It's considered incredibly reprehensible within that fraternity. Remember Joe Rogan's campaign against Carlos Mencia for stealing his material (rather than just for his awful TV show and truly horrendous delivery)? I recall a fairly lousy "Studio 60" episode ("The West Coast Feed") focused entirely on this code, where comedians walked down hallways at high speeds, waving their arms and yelling "I never stole a joke in my life!"

It's one thing to re-make a movie for a different time, to update a story and give it new life. But Death At A Funeral was made in 2007 and just happened to be a film that not many people saw. Rock recast the film with black actors and is re-releasing it to a larger audience. It's almost the exact same film: shot in a similar location, with all the same jokes, even some of the same actors (though to be fair, who would you ever pick for that slot other than Peter Dinklage?). Check the trailers:

2007 Version:

2010 Version:

 Eerily similar, no? And having seen the original film, I can promise you that there are no jokes in this trailer that did not, in some form, appear in the first version. Which, just to remind you one more time, came out three years ago. Three.

One final note: you could make this same argument concerning television - the British and American "Office's", for example - but that's a unique medium. I could go on about this for a long time, but in brief, TV works based on the concept that original premise is simply the jumping-off point for characters. Writers adapt to the individual actors playing the parts and the producers adjust the series' tone as time passes. It's nearly impossible to truly recreate anything in television for more than a few episodes in a row. More importantly, TV creates a weekly relationships with its viewers, and that's something that can't be communicated through a DVD set released two years after the fact.