An American remake of Death at a Funeral might be a new low. Consider: this would be a remake of an English-language film, two years after it received a considerable Stateside release. (I mean, I saw it in my local suburban multiplex at the time.) At least Nine Queens (which quickly became Criminal) and Funny Games were in a foreign language and barely saw the light of day here.

At least the remake of the quintessentially British farce may not turn out to be the anodyne Hollywood studio comedy you might otherwise expect. It'll be directed by Neil LaBute, who, with the bizarre exception of the Gwyneth Paltrow snoozer Possession, at least consistently makes interesting films. (And yes, I'll defend his Wicker Man redo if called upon.) On the other hand, I have no idea what to make of the fact that the remake is going to star Chris Rock. I can't really think of a more jarring replacement for the amiably goofy Matthew MacFadyen.

LaBute seems to have gotten back into at least some critics' good graces with last year's Lakeview Terrace, which (not for the first time) wrapped the writer-director's trademark edginess in a genre film cloak. It seems a shame to stuff a whopping hunk of subtext into something as droll as Death at a Funeral but it probably won't be boring. On the other hand, the remake will be written by Rock, not LaBute, and if Rock's previous screenplays are any indication, maybe it will be boring.

Variety reports that LaBute has also signed on to direct a rom-com called Here Comes the Sun, but we don't have any details about that one.