Buena Vista Pictures | Release Date: March 26, 2004
6.3
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 56 Ratings
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25
Mixed:
26
Negative:
5
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6
KadeemluvmusicMay 6, 2015
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 terribleAhh, 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
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6
MrMovieBuffFeb 1, 2016
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
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.
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5
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.
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5
FilmClubMar 27, 2016
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
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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