The Ladykillers

User Score
5.6

Mixed or average reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 88
  2. Negative: 22 out of 88

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User Reviews

  1. CoryC.
    Mar 28, 2004
    4
    In all reviews I've read thus far of Ladykillers, I've noticed two distinct discussions (or almost two different reviews): the merits of Tom Hanks' performance, and the rest of the film. This is fair, because these points are two different things altogether. Firstly, Hank's performance. I personally loved it, and wished desperately that the Coen Brothers had spent as In all reviews I've read thus far of Ladykillers, I've noticed two distinct discussions (or almost two different reviews): the merits of Tom Hanks' performance, and the rest of the film. This is fair, because these points are two different things altogether. Firstly, Hank's performance. I personally loved it, and wished desperately that the Coen Brothers had spent as much time with the rest of the film as they did with his dialogue. Others detested Hanks, but I feel that unfair, and perhaps their reactions are due to the combination of a radical departure for him, and a movie surrounding his performance that drags him down with it. And the rest of the film. Either the Coen's desperately hope to garner more box office by dumbing down and dirtying up the comedy, or they just didn't know what else to do (again, perhaps they put to much energy into Hank's character.) Did we need the irritable bowel humor? Or Gawain's love of booty plotline? Or rather, if, as the Coen's insist by having them there, they are so critical to the plot, why not deal with them with the level of class Hanks and Hall show? Sadly, bad parts of a film can snowball together and make everything else in the film seem equally tarnished by comparison, and that's a shame. I could see Hank's performance in another (wittier, classier) film, without anyone having single complaint. Expand
  2. MikeE.
    Sep 7, 2004
    4
    Dragged along too slowly, made semi-fun jokes and for someone who isn't into gospel, the musical scenes were WAY too long.
  3. SteveT
    Oct 2, 2004
    4
    A movie that has funny moments, but overall not a funny movie.
  4. Triniman
    Mar 28, 2004
    4
    I'm used to automatically seeing anything associated with the Coen Brothers. The previews for The Ladykillers made it look like a charming, Southern US, caper film. Sure enough, there were plenty of grey-haired folks in the theatre. I can't imagine they expected the constant MF swearing from one of the chracters. This is a remake of the 1955 hit UK film of the same name starring I'm used to automatically seeing anything associated with the Coen Brothers. The previews for The Ladykillers made it look like a charming, Southern US, caper film. Sure enough, there were plenty of grey-haired folks in the theatre. I can't imagine they expected the constant MF swearing from one of the chracters. This is a remake of the 1955 hit UK film of the same name starring Peter Sellers and Alec Guiness. The new version relies on repetitive gag humour and the clash between a conservative Christian woman and a foul-mouthed, "hippity-hop" criminal, to get most of its laughs. Some of the other supporting cast members are nothing but dumb cliches (big, dumb jock, quiet, sly Communist Chinese General, etc.) Tom Hanks plays the role of ring leader as if he were a cartoon character. There's really no intrigue or really good humour in this obvious Coen Brothers sellout. Not a must-see film. by Triniman Expand
  5. VinceH.
    May 29, 2004
    5
    Definitely the worst film the Coen Bros. have made thus far. Many people complained about their last one "Intolerable Cruelty", which was actually pretty good (though not great). The only reasons to see this movie are Tom Hanks as Dorr in a hilariously over-the-top and witty role (he seems like a character literally taken out of an Ealing comedy...which seems to be the point) and instead Definitely the worst film the Coen Bros. have made thus far. Many people complained about their last one "Intolerable Cruelty", which was actually pretty good (though not great). The only reasons to see this movie are Tom Hanks as Dorr in a hilariously over-the-top and witty role (he seems like a character literally taken out of an Ealing comedy...which seems to be the point) and instead of just stealing Alec Guiness' body movement, he creates a unique role himself. The other reason is Irma P. Hall, who is so good and memorable in this that she was recently awarded a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Not worth spending $10 in theaters for, but rent one night when there's nothing else around. Expand
  6. DanielleB
    Jul 18, 2004
    5
    Obviously not the best of Tom Hanks' films.
  7. TonyB.
    Oct 19, 2005
    5
    Not one of Tom Hanks' best efforts, it does provide some pleasantries, not the least of which is the wonderful Irma P. Hall.
  8. May 6, 2015
    6
    Ahh, 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 orAhh, 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. Expand
  9. Feb 1, 2016
    6
    The Coen Brothers remake of the classic comedy 'The Ladykillers' is a not-so-bad comedy movie, but even a status like that is low for legendary directors such as Joel and Ethan Coen.

    The movie is about Tom Hanks (in an inspired and charismatic performance) attempting to steal some money, but doing it via a house of an old, religious and sometimes hot-tempered woman who offers some
    The Coen Brothers remake of the classic comedy 'The Ladykillers' is a not-so-bad comedy movie, but even a status like that is low for legendary directors such as Joel and Ethan Coen.

    The movie is about Tom Hanks (in an inspired and charismatic performance) attempting to steal some money, but doing it via a house of an old, religious and sometimes hot-tempered woman who offers some slapstick comedy to the film, but at times feels a little too silly for its own good.

    There were times where I felt like laughing, and some of the jokes did work on some level, but ultimately, the story was just meh, it didn't add anything memorable and there were times where it tried to be surprising and catch you off guard...but it ended up just being predictable.

    A disappointing step for the Coen brothers and Tom Hanks.
    Expand
  10. Mar 27, 2016
    5
    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.

    It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to try to remake the wry 1955 Ealing comedy, written by William Rose and directed by Alexander Mackendrick, about an odd gang of robbers who hole up in the home of a little old lady
    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.

    It wasn’t necessarily a bad idea to try to remake the wry 1955 Ealing comedy, written by William Rose and directed by Alexander Mackendrick, about an odd gang of robbers who hole up in the home of a little old lady while executing their scheme. And there would seem to be plenty of promise in the Coens’ decision to transplant the yarn to small-town Mississippi and turn the lady into a not so little black Baptist widow with a strong nose for immorality.

    But after a nifty opening scene in which Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall) marches into the sleepy local police station to complain about the “hippity-hop” music a neighbor is playing on his new blaster, the film’s tone shortly begins to feel off — a sense setting in that, in this instance, the brothers’ stylized dialogue isn’t quite hitting the accustomed high mark.

    Introducing himself as a classics professor with expertise in Latin and Ancient Greek, Goldthwait Higginson Dorr, Ph.D. (Hanks), is as eccentric and as highfalutin as his name. Goateed and bedecked with a permanent bow-tie and creamy caped suit that mark him as a man steeped in a distant age, Dorr speaks in an elaborate, rarified, highly literary manner that gives Hanks paragraphs of dialogue to recite and is not unamusing if you follow its circumlocutions carefully.

    Dorr takes a room in Marva’s comfortable old house, but spends most of his time in the cellar with an “ensemble” that supposedly specializes in playing “late Renaissance” music. In fact, this is Dorr’s criminal band, and the Coens (Ethan explicitly shares directorial credit with Joel here for the first time) devote considerable attention and invention to providing each member with his own mirthful intro.

    Gawain (Marlon Wayans) is the streetwise, vulgarity-spewing “inside man” who takes a janitorial job aboard a floating casino; Pancake (J.K. Simmons) is a hapless technician assigned to setting the explosives for the break-in; Lump (Ryan Hurst) is the inarticulate “muscle” responsible for digging a tunnel from Marva’s basement to the casino office, and the General (Tzi Ma) is a former South Vietnamese officer whose logistical expertise supposedly makes up for his lack of words.

    With so much time spent on bringing the characters into the mix and covering the tracks of their project — with time out for visits to Marva’s church for no other reason than to sample the lusty gospel singing — “The Ladykillers” has trouble gathering dramatic momentum, reducing it to the level of a picaresque Southern curio.

    Gang’s successful completion of its mission comes at the one-hour mark, and Dorr characteristically celebrates the occasion with his own variation on a famous speech from Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” From then on, however, it’s nothing but trouble for the quintet, as Marva discovers the truth, forcing Dorr, after much verbal tap-dancing, to offer her a full share of the $1.6 million haul. It’s when the righteous Marva refuses the bribe that pic’s title comes into focus, with results that backfire in a manner that will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the 49-year-old British gem.

    The original was centered upon one of Alec Guinness’ most breathtakingly eccentric performances, one marked physically by the character’s outrageously bad teeth. In a return to comedy after a considerable sabbatical, Hanks comports himself skillfully, obviously relishing Dorr’s distinctive oddities and rhetorical flights, and putting his own trademark on the role with an irrepressible giggle that overcomes him at peak moments of enthusiasm. But like the film itself, the performance doesn’t take off and soar, and there are moments when Dorr’s long-windedness frankly becomes tiresome.

    Part of the film’s problem may stem from the characters’ wildly different manners of speech, and from the fact that they simply don’t mesh.

    Production values are up to the Coens’ usual impeccable standards. Roger Deakins’ lensing is exquisitely composed and atmospheric, especially in his shots of a statue-laden bridge that comes to play a crucial role in the proceedings. Carter Burwell’s original score takes a back seat to the extensive gospel selections that grace the soundtrack, albeit to less decisive and organic effect than the music selections played in “O Brother.”
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Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    The Coen brothers merrily subvert that standard caper trope.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    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.