Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Lady Killers (IMDB) (Netflix)
A remake of the 1955 Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers version, with re-writing and direction from the Coen brothers and a cast led by Tom Hanks as Professor G.H. Dorr, Ph.D. and minor criminal mastermind who's spent too much time with his Thesaurus. Irma P. Hall is the naive-yet-formidable lady who may or may not get killed. Hanks and his coterie of petty criminals use Hall's cellar as their base camp for robbing a riverfront casino, but because everyone is pretty much a first class screw-up, very little goes according to plan. Hence the funny.

Those who've seen the many trailers for the movie know that Hanks was given the green light to make his performance as colorful as he liked, and the other actors had equal license, with richly—if broadly—drawn comic characters. The plot couldn't be much simpler—it's sortof an anti-Ocean's Eleven—just enough to let the actors do their thing. The Coens aren't movie makers who work to impress anyone other than themselves, particularly the many critics who weren't bowled over, but the smallish audience in my theater was clearly entertained throughout, as was I. With rousing Gospel music that, like O Brother, Where Art Thou?, will spawn another successful soundtrack.