THE LADYKILLERS (2004)—–Joel & Ethan, the Coen Brothers, have amassed a remarkable record of whipsmart, visually vivid comedies and dramas since they started in 1984 with Blood Simple. Among the two dozen are a slew of classics. They don’t always score, though, and I give this 2004 remake of the highly regarded 1955 Alec Guinness black comedy a sour thumbs-down.
Courtly con man Tom Hanks hornswoggles nice old widow lady Irma P. Hall into letting his ensemble of classical musicians practice in her basement. The quirked-up group are really criminals planning a casino heist. It spends an inordinate amount of frantic energy trying to be funny, and fails badly, quickly. The writer/producer/director duo let their trademark clever dialog trip over itself with self-awareness about how cute it is, and way too much of it is loaded down with a string of 89 f-bombs, jarringly out of place for the mood and setting. Hanks mugs like never before: it’s amusing for about ten minutes and then it starts to grate. The visual look is unappealing.
104 minutes, with Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, George Wallace and Stephen Root. They plugged $35,000,000 into it and came back with $78,000,000. Painful.