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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome: 7.09%
Worth A Look47.24%
Average: 29.13%
Pretty Bad: 7.09%
Total Crap: 9.45%

10 reviews, 67 user ratings



Ladykillers, The (2004)
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by EricDSnider

"The Coen Bros. meet the Warner Bros."
4 stars

There is no swearing permitted in the home of Marva Munson, an elderly, church-going African-American woman in a small Mississippi town. No smoking, either. And though it is not specifically mentioned, one assumes it is also forbidden for a band of thieves to use her root cellar as their base of operations.

So the cadre of criminals at the center of "The Ladykillers" are three-time offenders of Mrs. Munson's regulations, and that subtle juxtaposition of the profane and the classy propels much of the comedy in Joel and Ethan Coen's film, a remake of a 1955 British movie.

Witness the early scenes of Munson (Irma P. Hall) complaining to the local sheriff that a neighbor boy has been blasting "hippity-hop" music on his boom box, full of lyrics that use the N-word with shocking regularity. Then see Professor G.H. Dorr (Tom Hanks), the very picture of Southern gentility, renting a bedroom in Munson's little home, their conversation as polite as can be, hiding Dorr's true plans, which involve digging a tunnel from Munson's cellar to a nearby riverboat casino's vault.

We cut then to a series of vignettes introducing Dorr's cohorts for the heist, each scene more laden with profanity than the last, all reminding us how different these folks are from the simple, kindly Mrs. Munson.

The inside man, a shiftless casino employee, is Gawain MacSam (Marlon Wayans). The explosives expert is Garth Pancake (J.K. Simmons), a gregarious fellow who does that sort of thing for TV and movies. For tactical issues, we defer to the taciturn General (Tzi Ma), and for sheer brute strength, we have college football player Lump Hudson (Ryan Hurst).

Dorr is the brains behind the operation, putting on the Southern gentleman front in order to charm Mrs. Munson. It is interesting to note, however, that Dorr's persona is not an act. He is just as literate and verbose, and as cool as a mint julep, in front of his compatriots as he is with their landlady. Whether he is truly a professor or not, we don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me.

It is a typically Coens-esque film, set in the present but with a bucolic atmosphere that could put it in the '20s, too. It boasts numerous amusing sight gags, visually appealing camera angles, and several recurring jokes, one involving a garbage barge that is handy for removing evidence quickly. And, as is typical for the Coen boys, even the minor, one-scene characters are quirky and memorable. (I shall always recall Walter K. Jordan as Elron, a rotund security guard at the casino who never stops laughing.) Even the characters' names are funny, and I haven't even mentioned Weemack Funthes or Fernand Gudge.

Look at the whole thing as a live-action cartoon, albeit one with very dark comedy, in which a harmless "victim" -- in this case Mrs. Munson -- is constantly targeted but just as constantly saved without realizing she was ever in danger. Every time something drops onto that garbage barge, I'm reminded of Wile E. Coyote falling off the cliff. It's the Coen Bros. meets the Warner Bros.

Where I think the Coens have slacked off a bit is in their direction. The film is funny, often hilarious, but it also feels slower than it should, particularly with its loony-tunes premise. Perhaps it is Dorr's excessive monologues -- which Hanks, a consummate comic actor, delivers in a manner that is goofy but still admirably restrained -- that bog down the proceedings; maybe it's the fact that the story is very simple yet is stretched for 104 minutes when perhaps 90 would have been better. I like the movie, but with the top-notch acting, cinematography and dialogue it has, I should have loved it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8913&reviewer=247
originally posted: 04/01/04 10:31:10
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User Comments

6/04/13 PAUL SHORTT UNNECESSARY REMAKE OF A CLASSIC COMEDY DESPITE A GOOD STAR PERFORMANCE 3 stars
11/06/12 Jeff Wilder Even a mediocre COen Brothers film is better than most,. 3 stars
5/03/12 Monday Morning Quirky, funny, great. Hanks's laugh alone is priceless. 4 stars
12/02/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
9/17/08 Stu Hanks is brilliant and the whole film is funny. Donīt know why it gets such a hard time. 4 stars
1/22/08 David Cohen Made me pine for "Bonfire of the Vanities" 1 stars
11/08/07 asg i was one of the few in the theatre who was laughing my arse off. it went past most i guess 4 stars
11/11/06 David Pollastrini HORRIBLE, ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE 1 stars
6/01/06 tatum Very funny, on par with the original 4 stars
11/04/05 Bad Critic Definitely Tom Hanks best performance. 4 stars
3/31/05 Nick Boyd Tom Hanks and Irma P. Hall make this a worthwhile film, though just barely 3 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold Just shows that the Coens are gimmicky and overrated. 3 stars
3/14/05 Landshark outlandish & cartoony, it's looks like homespun farce but plods too slowly. 3 stars
11/12/04 Clatz Didn't find this funny at all, it's a quirky version of something thats been done to death. 2 stars
11/03/04 Jews for Hitler Very boring. There's a scene of Hanks reading a book. Yawn.... 1 stars
10/31/04 DJ Any movie with Tom Hanks is great! 4 stars
10/29/04 Dan If you like "Oh brother where art thou?" type comedic movies, this ones for you! 4 stars
10/11/04 willie I did not care for it 2 stars
9/27/04 Josh Standlee Tom Hanks ruled! Marlon Wayans sucked. 3 stars
9/17/04 Helen Bradley Tom Hanks brilliant too many 'f****' words problems with script 5 stars
9/02/04 Elaine Perrone Glad it worked for you, Dennis. I'm close to giving up on the Coens. 1 stars
8/21/04 ALDO Not really that funny....from the cast i expected better...they talk so much shit 2 stars
8/21/04 john bale Coen Brothers Musical Black Comedy ala "Where art thou" Hanks & Hall good fun together. 4 stars
8/19/04 Peter B. Boring!!! 2 stars
7/09/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen What's that modern boombox doing in a movie otherwise stuck in the 1950s? Almost pty crappy 3 stars
7/06/04 James Kustes This is the type of Coen movie I like 4 stars
7/03/04 Miles Bader Lots of nice bits, but lacks some sort of spark 3 stars
7/01/04 Mikey Crunt Comedykillers!!! Fart is not funny!!!! Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 1 stars
7/01/04 Pants It was shit 1 stars
6/16/04 earl duron Worst Coen film of all 2 stars
6/14/04 de dog i say its ok but i might not see it agin 3 stars
6/11/04 Ron Spin It swore its way into obscurity, I'd swear. 1 stars
6/10/04 BABY GIRL HES WELL FIT (STEVEN DORFF) 4 stars
5/22/04 CK Pure and utter crap......an absolute travesty. Original was way better 1 stars
5/15/04 skye fun. but not oh brother fun. 4 stars
5/05/04 A F ZZZzzzZZZZz Oh OH! Is it over. THat was a nice nap. 2 stars
4/19/04 Robin Swearingen very funny, several allusions to works of literature 4 stars
4/17/04 Jackie The use of the :"f" word ruined what should have been a funny movie 2 stars
4/17/04 Jodie It was awful, save your money and don't waste your time. 2 stars
4/15/04 bob ok 4 stars
4/14/04 Jack Collins We walked out--stupid movie--waste $12.50 1 stars
4/11/04 Peter Funny, yet left with an empty feeling 4 stars
4/08/04 George Jung Close to perfect. 5 stars
4/07/04 gayle Horrible - stereotypical crap, BJU indeed! 1 stars
4/07/04 Kev Pretty damn funny 4 stars
4/05/04 ajay very entertaining. 4 stars
4/02/04 George Jung Almost perfect. 5 stars
4/02/04 toolband this film has an amazing film style and is also very dark.....amazing film 5 stars
4/02/04 Michelle Bennett This movie was entirely too slow and too long. The 'funny' scenes were typcial / expected 2 stars
4/01/04 TC Not the Coens' best, but still hiliarious 5 stars
4/01/04 KingNeutron Slow-moving, but funny and well-executed. The music was awesome. :) 3 stars
3/30/04 Julie I feel like i have lost 2 hours of my life. People left the theatre shaking their heads! 1 stars
3/29/04 Pin The heist genre will never be the same. 5 stars
3/29/04 zeke really good 5 stars
3/29/04 Jennifer B it was ok, it had a tough time getting started but the old lady was really funny 3 stars
3/28/04 mark kick ass 5 stars
3/28/04 Agent Sands Disappointing. Pretty funny, good camerawork, clever heist, otherwise not up to Coen par. 3 stars
3/28/04 mk fun, visually sharp, a good laugh, loved it 4 stars
3/27/04 Bonnie Baker Taken as a spoof and then it's great... 4 stars
3/27/04 buddy garrett a good movie but i am not a coen fan 4 stars
3/27/04 Eric Harker The Coen's are my heroes! 5 stars
3/27/04 AfroFett gross? I second the "best since Fargo" review 4 stars
3/25/04 Mike V Strong start but doesn't have legs. 3 stars
3/25/04 d-fine gross, unfunny, couldn't believe the brothers directed it. Horrid 1 stars
3/25/04 Alien Ink Alien at the Movies, a sneak preview review. 4 stars
3/24/04 earl jam lots of out loud laughing 4 stars
3/20/04 Ray Tom Hanks is great, the movie is great!!! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-Mar-2004 (R)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  19-Aug-2004


Directed by
  Joel Coen
  Ethan Coen

Written by
  Joel Coen
  Ethan Coen

Cast
  Tom Hanks
  Marlon Wayans
  Irma P. Hall
  Stephen Root
  J.K. Simmons
  George Wallace



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