Remake of the 1955 film.
If you've never enjoyed Alec Guinness in theclassic 1955 British comedy
that inspired it, the Coen brothers' remake ofThe Ladykillers
may well prove hilarious. For starters, it's got Tom Hanks in a variation of the Guinness role, eccentrically channeling Colonel Sanders, Tennessee Williams, and Edgar Allan Poe in his southern-fried performance as Prof. Goldthwait Higgins Dorr, Ph.D. (named after an actual arts institute curator from the Coens' native Minnesota), a deliciously verbose con man who needs a secret headquarters for his five-man plot to rob a riverboat casino moored on the Mississippi. In the film's funniest and least-caricatured role (and even she can't elude the Coens' comedic stereotyping), Irma P. Hall plays the churchgoing widow who rents a room to Dorr, whose crew of "musicians" (in keeping with the original's plot) use the lady's root cellar to tunnel to the casino's cash-rich counting room. Rampant mishaps ensue, the body count rises among Dorr's band of idiots (including Marlon Wayans, spouting nonstop profanities), and the Coens put their uniquely stylish stamp on everything. It's a funny movie, allowing for some nagging flatness to the material, but if you've seen the original (and other vintage comedies from the heyday of Britain's low-budget Ealing Studios), you'll eventually wonder,what were they thinking
? Accounting for all the qualities that grace any Coen movie (this being the first time the brothers have officially shared directorial credit), this revampedLadykillers
is a mixed blessing, both entertaining and superfluous.--Jeff Shannon