Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Miramax Pictures presents
Undertaking Betty (2002)

"You have no imagination, Delbert. That's your problem. No vision. I want to create a whole new kind of funeral. Keep in mind, the root word of 'funeral' is 'fun'."
- Frank Featherbed (Christopher Walken)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 07, 2006

Stars: Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina
Other Stars: Christopher Walken, Naomi Watts, Lee Evans, Robert Pugh, Jerry Springer, Howell Evans, Malcolm Cousins, Menna Trussler
Director: Nick Hurran

MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content
Run Time: 01h:28m:25s
Release Date: March 07, 2006
UPC: 786936700985
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BA-A- D

DVD Review

There's a moment at the very beginning of this one when I sensed things were about to go horribly wrong, and it occurs only a few seconds in. It's a brief case of cutesy subtitles, something that hasn't been funny since Monty Python nailed it in The Holy Grail. And when director Nick Hurran resorted to it at the outset it seemed like a case of trying too hard too soon to establish some level of quirky, forced charm, oddly enough done during a scene that is a beautifully shot flashback moment set at a school dance. It's a short scene, dialogue free, and it would have worked perfectly well without the distracting attempt of humorous subs.

That potential misstep aside, what follows is a cute English romantic comedy set in one of those idyllic country villages, teetering on farce in spots, and one with a layer of not quite dark humor at its heart. Brenda Blethyn is Betty, a fairly meek and mild woman married to a coarse, philandering politico, played by Robert Pugh, who is having an affair with his sexually insatiable secretary, portrayed by Naomi Watts. Alfred Molina is the softspoken, ballroom-dancing undertaker who's had a thing for Betty for decades, and the pair eventually conspire to fake her death in order for them to be together. It's an elaborate Rube Goldberg ruse, and their plan runs the risk of being spoiled by the town's other undertaker, played with a self-parodying over-the-top Walken-ism by Christopher Walken as the guy who wants to put "fun" back in funerals.

There's a feel at times that Hurran is juggling a few different styles at one time, with one featuring a cute (albeit dark) love story between Alfred Molina and Brenda Blethyn, another on the lusty affair between Robert Pugh and Naomi Watts (who really seems to relish the chance to camp it up as the horny secretary, complete with sexy Catwoman outfit) and the other centered on the broad comedy of Christopher Walken and Lee Evans (as his dim assistant) as the wacky undertakers.

These potentially disparate angles converge all at once in the tiny village of Wrottin-Powys, and Hurran is blessed with a talented cast that gives the whole affair the proper mix of subtle comedic timing (even Walken and Lee sporting Spock ears at a wake) that thankfully prevents this from turning into an out-and-out shrill farce, and the skill of the actors smooth out what could have easily been some jarring transitions.

This isn't quite as morbidly dark as it certainly could have been, but it has enough of a proper English bite to seem fresh and often rather funny. The characters may never seem like anyone you might know in real life (Blethyn comes closest, but even her Betty is almost too mousy to be more than a caricature), but they're a fun bunch to watch as they move through the sometimes silly material here.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a strong one, sporting some beautifully warm, smear-free colors and an excellent level of detail. Fleshtones look completely natural, and black levels are deep. No compression issues, no edge enhancement, no debris. A beauty.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround track was quite a pleasant surprise, and hardly the type of full-bodied mix one might expect on a farcical English comedy. There's plenty of directional movement, with numerous cues out of the left and right fronts creating a wide, natural soundstage. Dialogue, especially all those potentially troublesome accents, are clean and clear. Not necessarily a showcase disc, but the audio mix is active and very bright.

A 2.0 surround dub in Spanish is also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring An Unfinished Life, Proof
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The solitary extra is a piece called The Fun in Funeral (06m:46s), a typical nonanamorphic widescreen EPK made slightly less enjoyable due to image quality being a bit on the blurry side. Cast and crew pontificate on the project, their love of Wales amidst clips from the film.

The disc is cut into 13 chapters, with optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

This one dances on that dangerous line between romantic comedy and outright farce with alternating bouts of recklessness, and yet somehow, it all works: sweet and disarming on one hand, ribald and manic on the other. And then there's Christopher Walken doing what is essentially a Christopher Walken impression as an over-zealous undertaker who thinks way outside the box.



Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store