Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Ladykillers (2004)

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Starring: Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, George Wallace, John McConnell, Jason Weaver, Stephen Root, Lyne Odums, Walter K. Jordan, George Anthony Bell

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The greatest criminal minds of all time have finally met their match.

Plot: An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as musicians in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting landlord: a sharp old woman.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I hate to give up on a Coen Brothers movie (I suspect INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (2003) might be next) but I can't bring myself to watch this one again.  It makes me sad.  I saw it opening weekend at the theater and now again last night.  The original British THE LADYKILLERS (1955) is a hilarious classic.  I'm not opposed to a remake and the Coens got a lot right in how they transplanted a London comedy to the Deep South.  The Mississippi location is great.  Tom Hanks is great as the Southern Gentleman but then he's both smart and stupid and I'm not 100% on board with that choice.  Guinness nailed it in the original.  The character of Lump (Hurst, who is COMPLETELY unrecognizable as Opie in SONS OF ANARCHY) is almost completely unnecessary and I could have done without Garth's (Simmons, who is very funny in the role) irritable bowel syndrome. But Irma P. Hall as Marva owns this flick.  She's fantastic.  And I LOVE the painting of her dead husband of twenty years, Othar, and how his expression changes periodically.  THAT is fucking hilarious and you just know the Coens had to have seen the same thing done in the amusing, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS (1966), where they also used it to great effect.  George Wallace is a comedy genius and his semi-double take when Marva shows up at the sheriff's station at the beginning is one of the all-time greats.  Check it out below at around 1:35 in.

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