A remake of the 1955 comedy, the story revolves around a Southern professor who puts together a group of thieves to rob a casino. They rent a room in an old woman's house, but soon she discovers the plot and they must kill her, a task that is more difficult than it seems.Written by
Garth's initial reaction to his "IBS" flaring up during the heist is seen twice - his sudden pause and pained facial expression noticeably appears in a wide shot before it cuts to the close-up. See more »
The Professor's hands and glasses, and the dripping candle wax behind him, change when he talks about Edgar Allan Poe and then sits down. See more »
I have loved all the Coen brother movies but, unfortunately, this one was a let down. It kills me to write this but here is my analysis of what went wrong...
The Actors & Production Team did not Share the Same Vision....
...and it shows on screen. The tone of the scenes and characters are wildly uneven. The movie feels like it was pasted together from other movies of unrelated genres and time periods.
The odd combinations of mixed era costumes and set interiors are visually distracting. It takes awhile to figure out what time period the story is supposed to be set in. When introduced to Tom Hank's character it appears the movie will be set in the 1920's but then you meet his landlady, and she is an artifact of the 1950's. Then, suddenly, you are jerked to a casino scene that feels like outtakes from an Ice Cube "Friday" movie. The only cohesive element is that all the characters are underdeveloped stereotypes.
Typically the Coens write quirky characters that are meant to be played full tilt boogie but here lack of a developed script leaves the actors running amok. Although the actors try to compensate their overwrought performances just amplify the offensiveness of the humorless material.
Hanks' performance as Professor Dorr might have been fun in a short SNL sketch but his over-the-top delivery is hard to take for longer than five minutes. His mugging and affectations are blown even more out of proportion when viewed in the theater (or on a big screen). It is quite like watching the antics of a precocious kid who annoys everyone but his love-blind parents. While Hanks may have amused the Coen brothers, it isn't working on scene.
The story might have looked funny on paper but by the time it reached the big screen Tom Hanks had taken the Coen Brother's hostage. Hanks character interpretation looks like it evolved in a bubble, cut off from his fellow actors and unrelated to the stylistic tone of the surrounding production. The effect is jarring and frustrating to watch. The Step'in Fetchit and Mammy era shtick is painfully unfunny. The casino scenes lack the usual Coen whimsy. Visually it feels like you accidentally clicked over to another movie.
If you are looking for the usual Coen Brothers whimsy you may wish to skip this one and save yourself the disappointment.
I can recommend this movie ONLY to people that enjoy dogging on movies that missed the mark. In that sense it is a good candidate for the at-home game of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." Invite over a few friends and swap smartass comments about movie while you view it.
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