Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40
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  1. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    For a certain brand of film geek, the best news about The Ladykillers is that it isn't a Tom Hanks movie. It's a Coen brothers movie.
  2. Done with an enticing mixture of lacerating comedy, lush Roger Deakins cinematography, robust acting and juicy lines, the Coens' Ladykillers is often glorious fun to watch. It won't please everyone, of course.
  3. 88
    I suspect that mainstream audiences will find plenty of things to take pleasure in, even though some viewers may be bewildered by what the Coens do. But for those who share my taste in comedy, this is a must-not-miss.
  4. A lot of good actors have gone to work for the Coens and ended up looking like puppets, but Hanks is too clever for that. He knows that he's playing a concoction rather than a human being.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    The Coen brothers merrily subvert that standard caper trope.
  6. 80
    Already as dark as London soot, the comedy hardly needed work to bring it in line with the Coen brothers' sensibility, but the remake moves to a beat of its own, one unexpectedly in sync with the gospel music dominating its soundtrack.
  7. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The mixture of cartoony stylization and regional realism is completely original--and a testament to the genius eye for color of the great cinematographer Roger Deakins and the designer Dennis Gassner.
  8. The new version of The Ladykillers is like an able forger's copy of a masterpiece. The brushstrokes are broader, the colors are a little less subtle, and one or two portions of the canvas were finished in a hurry. But it's well worth a look if you're passing by.
  9. So what if the movie isn't finger-lickin' good like the original? The performances by Hanks as a crook and Irma P. Hall as his honorable landlady are mighty tasty.
  10. 75
    Hanks is terrific giving his first flat-out comic performance in years as a wildly eccentric criminal mastermind.
  11. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A Southern-style "Ocean's 11" without the pretty boys and Vegas attitude but with plenty of laughs.
  12. The Ladykillers fits snugly among the Coens' lighter and breezier movies--the ones you forget after you see them once and begin to appreciate and finally adore the more often you revisit them.
  13. 70
    A amusing trifle that might fit somewhere between "The Big Lebowski" and "Intolerable Cruelty"; for those expecting "Fargo," it's no "Fargo."
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Sells
    Good but not great, The Ladykillers is simple, somewhat funny and “nothing more.”
  15. 70
    The picture ranks with the brothers' best mid level output-not as sublime as "Fargo" or "Barton Fink" but infinitely more satisfying than "The Big Lebowski" or "Intolerable Cruelty".
  16. It’s both lowdown and effete, a jamboree of whoopee jokes and sick wit.
  17. 63
    The Coens' Ladykillers, on the other hand, is always wildly signaling for us to notice it. Not content to be funny, it wants to be FUNNY! Have you ever noticed that the more a comedian wears funny hats, the less funny he is?
  18. The overstuffed farce remains, but the caustic leanness and meanness of the original are gone with the Mississippi wind. That leaves us to settle for occasionally funny moments in an otherwise uneven picture.
  19. Where the best Coen brothers comedy is a matter of finely tuned tone, diction, attitude and visual rhythms, everything in The Ladykillers feels out of kilter. With Tom Hanks delivering -- arguably -- one of the most perplexing performances of his career.
  20. 60
    It's the disease of Hollywood remakes that they nearly always lose sight of what made the original good in the first place. Where Alexander Mackendrick's film offered a delicately diabolical blend of the ordinary and the brutal -- the new Ladykillers bludgeons you with cartoonish gags about stupid football players, irritable-bowel syndrome and somebody accidentally shooting himself in the head.
  21. Unquestionably minor, perhaps deliberately so, but it is nonetheless intermittently delightful.
  22. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    It’s but a shadow of the original and a lesser entry in their (Coens) collection, but you are still blessed by flashes of black heart.
  23. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The souffle falls a little flat in The Ladykillers, a Coen brothers black comedy in which the humor seems arch and narrative momentum doesn't kick in until the final third.
  24. 50
    It's as if the brothers admired the Swiss-watch precision of the original and wanted to take it apart to see how the pieces would work in a new setting. As an experiment, it's fascinating. But damn if the fiddling doesn't suck the life out of the laughs.
  25. It's insulting when such savvy filmmakers expect us to laugh automatically at four-letter words, bathroom humor, and caricatures as crude as they are unoriginal. At its best, The Ladykillers soars above its own worst instincts, especially when Hanks and Hall take over the action.
  26. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Will appeal most strongly to viewers who think Tom Hanks, who plays a thief and a potential murderer, can do no wrong.
  27. In fairness, the movie is good for more than a few laughs, but little substance lurks beneath the antic poses and frantic shenanigans in this remake of the classic 1955 English comedy.
  28. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The loosest, silliest, broadest thing the Coens have yet committed to celluloid, and that includes "Raising Arizona," one of this critic's favorites.
  29. 50
    The Coen brothers’ newest is an odd amalgam of tics and stutters that plays like something of a greatest-hits reel but never seems to jell into a real comedy.
  30. The Coens' lack of interest in Mississippi is fortunately joined by a healthy appreciation of gospel music, while their smirking appreciation of stupidity extends to every character in the movie while including no one in the audience.
  31. You have to look at the earlier film to understand where the Coen brothers went wrong - terribly, noisily, annoyingly wrong. They've made a broad comedy out of a black comedy and completely lost its charm in the process.
  32. 50
    Irritating when it should be amusing, dumb when it should be zany, flat when it should be snappy.
  33. 50
    Sructured like a Mad magazine parody where there's a promised joke in each frame. It doesn't add up to a movie.
  34. The film never settles into an assured rhythm, and instead the actors always seem to be pushing, putting the hard sell on an audience that, however distracted by the strenuousness of the sales pitch, still isn't buying.
  35. 50
    Everybody in and around this movie is trying too hard...After half an hour, we realized that, instead of enjoying a funny film, we were being lightly bullied into finding fun where precious little exists. [5 April 2004, p. 89]
  36. 38
    Hanks tries his hand at a king-size heartless comic role, and flubs it terribly. He looks slack and pasty and, what's worse, sounds slack and pasty.
  37. An uncharacteristic if unsurprising dud.
  38. 30
    A leaden, tone-deaf remake of the 1955 Ealing comedy starring Alec Guinness, the Coen brothers' painfully unfunny rehash hinges on the duel of wits between five larcenous oddballs and one sweet but strong-willed old lady.
  39. 30
    The Coens are uncharacteristically restrained. Indeed, given that the crime comedy is their preferred genre, The Ladykillers is remarkable mainly for its timidity.
  40. Not only have they (Coen Brothers) stripped it of all its wit and charm, they've loaded it down with the kind of race-baiting and bathroom humor they've always avoided in the past.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 40
  2. Negative: 17 out of 40
  1. May 6, 2015
    Ahh, The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan. The two dudes who masterfully made American cinema more peacefully nostalgic. The Big Lebowski andAhh, The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan. The two dudes who masterfully made American cinema more peacefully nostalgic. The Big Lebowski and Barton Fink, and Miller's Crossing and Fargo. The Ladykillers...not so much. I know it's a terrible idea to remake a movie, but somehow I liked the movie. Although the story felt a little fishy, but the cast look great. I thought either Tom Hanks or Marlon Wayans were pretty funny, but Tom Hanks needs a better hard R-rated comedy rather than Joe Versus The Volcano. Not quite as bad as critics think, but still the Coens just made a mistake on choosing this forgotten but somewhat above average film that didn't qualify as a Coen Brothers king of arthouse masterpieces. Worth a rental or watch it on Netflix. Full Review »
  2. TonyB.
    Oct 19, 2005
    Not one of Tom Hanks' best efforts, it does provide some pleasantries, not the least of which is the wonderful Irma P. Hall.