Another unnecessary remake, The Ladykillers updates the endearing yet instantly forgettable Alec Guinness heist flick from quaint London to the Mississippi Bible belt. The result is far from endearing, but just as forgettable. Tom Hanks mugs it up in the Guinness role as a genteel con man with Col. Sanders affectations and a wheezing giggle; surrounding himself with a rogue’s gallery of inept hoods each with their own one-joke gimmick: Marlon Wayans is a momma’s boy gansta from the hood; J.K. Simmons is a control freak with IBS and a Podunk girlfriend named Mountain Girl (Diane Delano); Lump (Ryan Hurst) is a football-player-turned-inarticulate-numbskull-goon; and The General (Tzi Ma) is a reticent Japanese assassin with a knack for the grisly killings the Coens are famous for—with some finger snapping and neck cracking, brutally inappropriate for a light comedy and thus more unsettling than the already gratuitous wood chipper in Fargo. The Coens’ lapel-grabbing camerawork and long-winded jibber-jabber can’t make up for the slightness of The Ladykillers; ditto the cartoon violence and the over-the-top performances of a cast that’s working overtime in the quirk n’ smirk department. Unlike the masterfully orchestrated O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Down South locales and down-home musical choices add nothing but window dressing to this inconsequential goof of a remake. Irma P. Hall retains her dignity as the landlady, now African-American and a pious churchgoer. But there’s no aspect of faith to these sordid, unfunny proceedings despite frequent cutaways to the soundtrack deal of a Gospel choir. The Ladykillers is too trifling to be taken seriously, and too routine to inspire hilarity.
- Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
- Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, George Wallace, Jason Weaver
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