The Ladykillers

Year: 2004
Director: Ethan Coen/Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen
Cast: Tom Hanks, Irma P Hall, Marlon Wayans, J J Simmons
Disappointing to a lot of fans who are increasingly worried that the Coens are selling out, resting on their laurels, or getting old. To everyone else, it will most likely appear just as a smarter than average black comedy.

I wasn't bothered either way as (the horror) I've never been a fan of the Coen brothers. Their early, quirky work so loved by critics and the black turtleneck club never held any appeal for me as I didn't find it especially black nor especially comical.

And while their last effort, Intolerable Cruelty, was just silly (more like a Abrahams/Zucker movie than anything like Fargo or The Big Lebowski), LadyKillers reclaims some of their taste for delicious eccentricity.

A remake of an earlier film, they again visit the deep south (as in O Brother Where Art Thou? to tell the story of an unlikely bunch of robbers led by Goldthwait Higginson Dorr (Hanks, in his most against-type role yet).

Dorr and his accomplices plan to burrow underground from the house of the elderly Miss Munson (Hall) to the safe of a riverboat casino.

The plot meanders in strange directions here and there, with characters as weird as any the Coens have bought to the screen, and while there are some laughs (many of them overly mainstream), the story and comedy take a fairly lazy way out and it's the characters that retain the only Coen touches; just that here, they're mostly redundant.

And look closely at the church choir leader in the dark suit - a bewigged Eddie Murphy.

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