More twee than any movie about serial murder has a right to be, writer-director Chaz Thorne’s grisly farce ladles a quirky-cute score over its dirty deeds in place of a point of view. Jay Baruchel—who all but vanished into the jungle foliage as Tropic Thunder‘s top bananas munched the scenery—makes a bit more of an impression here as a nosebleed-prone mope who inherits his dad’s failing small-town funeral home along with its pretty formaldehyde jockey (Rose Byrne). After an auto mishap delivers their first customer in years, the two start to see their enemies—a local snoop, a rival mortician—as just the stimulus package their business needs. Attempting an arch black-comic amusement closer in spirit to Little Shop of Horrors or Kind Hearts and Coronets than Fargo, the movie serves up gory killings and kinky peripheral shenanigans without any satirical thrust, blunting its death-equals-profit subtext with a snickering tone better suited to an afternoon of Clue. But the cast’s woozy timing and the oddball characters—especially Graham Greene as a deadpan handyman who watches the proceedings with stifled satisfaction—provide some sour laughs before the movie’s many caskets fill.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 1, 2008