Brenda Blethyn as Betty Rhys-Jones
Alfred Molina as Boris Plots
Christopher Walken as Frank Featherbed
Robert Pugh as Councillor Hugh Rhys-Jones
Naomi Watts as Meredith
Lee Evans as Delbert Butterfield
Jerry Springer as Himself
The Fun In Funeral: The Making of Undertaking Betty
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 88 Minutes
This film was originally released overseas in 2002 under the title “Plots With a View”. The following text is from the DVD cover:
“Academy Award® winner Christopher Walken (Best Supporting Actor, The Deer Hunter, 1978; Wedding Crashers) stars with Oscar® nominees Naomi Watts (Best Actress, 21 Grams, 2003; King Kong), and Brenda Blethyn (Best Supporting Actress, Little Voice, 1998; Beyond the Sea) in this devilish, offbeat comedy that follows the crowd-pleasing tradition of Waking Ned Devine. Stuck in a marriage that’s killing her, Betty (Blethyn) thinks the only way to break from her two-timing scoundrel of a husband is to fake her own death! With the help of her rekindled old flame, the local undertaker (Alfred Molina — Chocolat, Frida), a quiet funeral is planned down to the smallest detail. But nothing goes as planned when a flamboyant competing funeral director (Walken) jumps in determined to give Betty a send-off no one will ever forget!”
Undertaking Betty is rated PG-13 for sexual content/humor.
I had never heard of Undertaking Betty (or Plots With a View, as it was originally called), yet I was pleasantly surprised by it. The film had a great cast, a wacky plot, good music, and a beautiful setting in Wales. The things I’ll most remember it for are the moments with Christopher Walken’s funeral service. He specializes in themed funerals. Imagine the incredible level of tackiness when he does a Star Trek themed funeral for an old English woman who was a closet Trekkie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an old dead woman dressed as Spock’s sister. It was a cinematic first. The other noteworthy thing about this film is the hilarious twist it takes at the end. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but it takes the film in a completely different direction and it’s quite fun to see Betty’s husband get payback.
As you can see from the DVD cover, Naomi Watts has a role in this movie. It’s not quite as big of a role as you might expect from the advertising, but it’s fun to see her in her pre-King Kong era. I have good news and bad news for her fans. The good news is that she’s seen prancing around in lingerie and a Catwoman costume. The bad news is that most of the time she’s doing so with a large, sweaty, old Englishman. You win some, you lose some. Christopher Walken is also hilarious as Frank Featherbed, the rival undertaker. He’s delightfully over the top in this role as you probably guessed by the previously mentioned Star Trek funeral. Doc Ock fans will also get a kick out of seeing Alfred Molina in a role as a romantic lead.
Overall, if you like wacky comedies, dark comedies, or romantic comedies, you’ll probably want to check out Undertaking Betty. It’s a pleasant surprise that most people probably have never heard of.
There is one bonus feature included on this DVD and it’s a brief “making of” feature.