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1955:
2004
Rated: R for adult language, crude humor, and graphic violence
Genre: Comedy Crime/Gangster
Directed By: The Coen Brothers
Running Time: 1:44
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 4/17/05
DVD Features:
Featurette - 1. Danny Ferrington: The Man Behind the Band
Additional Footage - 1. The Slap Reel - Outtakes
2. Gospel of THE LADYKILLERS - Deleted Music Scenes
DVD-ROM Features:
THE LADYKILLERS Script Scanner
If you like this, try: The Ladykillers, Ocean's Eleven, Small time Crooks, Oh brother, where art thou?

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THE LADYKILLERS (2004)

 

The only really interesting bright spots to the film are the great talents of Tom Hanks and Irma P. Hall. The two manage to come out unscathed despite their terrible characters and it's good to see them shine in this. Hanks despite being mis-cast is funny and sometimes made me chuckle trying to keep order amidst the disorder and in dealing with Marva. Hall is good here and I always enjoy her performances, she's funny and really good as Marva who seems to want to have the best of intentions but no one likes her.

I hate remakes. Have you gotten the hint yet? I've bashed about eighty percent of the remakes that I've seen in the subsequent years, and I will continue to do so mainly because they really suck. Some studios take a classic film and remake it with a different plot which becomes evident they're just trying to make money from the original film's name, and some remakes are actually very faithful to the original source material. Now, instead of going into the remake of "The Ladykillers" without knowledge of the original, I purposely sought out and decided to watch the original film to compare, and I have to say, this is yet another really bad and utterly pointless remake of a great film; good thing it did poorly at the box-office; yet they still don't get the hint.

Regardless, I saw the original film and it's great; it's very funny, it's ingenious, well played out, and dark, very dark. Now Hollywood has enlisted the Cohen brothers to remake the
original film. This time we meet Professor G.H. Door played by Tom Hanks in place of Alec Guiness; Door is hoping to acquire a room for rent in the home of a lovely but sassy old lady named Marva, a very religious woman who constantly annoys the local police station with complaints and calls for help to get her cat out from a tree. Door is suspicious at first
but with his sly talking ways and elegant mannerisms he inevitably falls in good graces with Marva. Secretly, though, Door ends up being a professional thief planning a heist on the local casino and has assembled a group of misfits to help him with his plan, posing as an orchestra, they're intent on stealing the money and getting away with it, the only problem is that Marva is pretty annoying and won't make their operation easy.

Out of spite I checked out the original film and then the remake, and there's just no comparison. It sounds like I'm purposely hating this in favor of the original, but seriously,
this is a bad movie. I mean, even with top-notch talent like the Cohen brothers, Tom Hanks, and J.K. Simmons, It's impossible to top the original film which boasted the incomparable talents of masters such as Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, and Herbert Lom, and being a Peter Sellers fan was a big plus in my amusement with the original film. The original movie was a quirky and eccentric movie about a group of shady men attempting to get away with a bank heist while dealing with this old woman and instantly everything is lost in translation. The original film had four men who were very menacing yet comical, in here the characters are portrayed more as misfits who we know will screw up. The original had me thinking "These are guys top notch criminals but cant stop an old lady?" while the remake just had me expecting them to screw up because they're portrayed as idiotic, stupid, and just plain annoying.

The characters have nothing going for them here, and they're just not that interesting. Secondly, I love Tom Hanks, and he manages to pull off some chuckles with me with his Colonel Sanders goatee and locks, along with his elegant speak which is very out of
place, but not even Hanks' talents can save this movie. He lacks the menace of Alec Guinness who was a more threatening foe who was smarter than his comrades and knew it and schemed his way out of jams. He was not very trust worthy when it came to his operations and Guinness just made him look like a foe "Dudley Doright" with his long brows and jagged teeth which was pure raw talent on screen, Hanks on the other hand is too comical to actually be deemed a villain in any sense of the word and never worked on the screen with the plot at hand. In the original film these men become their own
enemies along with the old woman who becomes a big thorn on their side, in this the only enemy is their stupidity which is never funny.

As always, we have to take a good British product and make it our own and dumb it down with utterly crude humor and gratuitous violence, and cheesy elements played for comedy. I was expecting that. We have a character who has irritable bowel syndrome and gurgles whenever he has to go to the bathroom, we have a hand blown off with severed fingers and the like, and anything else you can basically think of that's crude and diminishes the wit and humor presented in the original film. Also, most of the comedy and gags here are clear misfires that never made me laugh; Marlon Wayans' stereotypical black thug, the stereotypical Asian man who knows martial arts, but can't even strangle an old lady, plenty of race jokes, some odd violence that never made any sense, and what the hell was with that gag with the picture constantly changing faces? Was that supposed to be even remotely funny?

Now, one of the big errors in the movie is the casting of the old woman who stands in the way of these men's operation. Would it have been so bad to cast a white actress to take up the role. Don't get me wrong I always love Irma P. Hall, but the way her character is portrayed here is all wrong. Hall is sassy, and strong and knows it and uses it against the men and is hardly annoying, she doesn't have the same quiet innocence Katie Johnson had in the original film. She was annoying, but she had the best of intentions, while Hall is just depicted as overbearing, and just plain unlikable. The key element to the film is the ending, the part where the criminals get their just deserts as fate plays a hand in their last crime, and while I thought the ending to the original was dark and edgy it was also smart and believable, while this has the dark ending but tries too hard to outdo its predecessor with a more violent ending that I didn't respond to. Nonetheless, while there's talent, this is just yet another crappy remake. Next!

While the film is beaming with talent, this is a terrible remake of a truly good film and lacks the brains, comedic value, and pure edge the original film possessed so well. Watch the original film and save yourself the pain of watching this pale imitation.

 

 

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