The Ladykillers Reviews

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Todd McCarthy
Variety
May 6, 2011
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August 18, 2007
The Ladykillers is small and compact -- it doesn't kill, it's just a doodle -- but it's a very pleasant cartoon for grown-ups. It's some sweet fodder.
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
While being far from the Coens' finest hour, it remains more intelligent and ambitious than most of what currently passes for Hollywood mainstream comedy.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
It's both lowdown and effete, a jamboree of whoopee jokes and sick wit.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
August 1, 2004
Everybody in and around this movie is trying too hard.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
March 30, 2004
There's the mind-numbing oompah rhythm of every gag telegraphed and every joke pounded into the ground.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
March 29, 2004
Most of this stuff isn't worthy of the Farrelly brothers, let alone the Coen brothers.
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
March 27, 2004
Structured like a Mad magazine parody where there's a promised joke in each frame. It doesn't add up to a movie.
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 27, 2004
The remake -- which could have been shot anywhere and probably was filmed on a studio back lot -- has almost nothing coherent to say about Mississippi, though it does recycle a few cliches.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Mark Jenkins
Washington Post
March 26, 2004
Should give just about everyone who sees it a few laughs. But it will appeal most strongly to viewers who think Tom Hanks, who plays a thief and a potential murderer, can do no wrong.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
March 26, 2004
Although The Ladykillers is a skillfully executed caper movie, the fun lies not in its mechanics but in its characterizations, especially Hanks's and Hall's, and especially when they're together.
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
March 26, 2004
Those seeking a quirky and clever comedy should hightail it to The Ladykillers forthwith.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
March 26, 2004
Not quite top-drawer Coen Bros., but good enough to make you wish it were, The Ladykillers is a case of being grateful for small pleasures.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Ted Fry
Seattle Times
March 26, 2004
Playing is the operative word since the visual whimsy gets equal billing with a mordant wit that's too much fun to be easily summed up as mere black comedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
March 26, 2004
Never settles into an assured rhythm, and instead the actors always seem to be pushing, putting the hard sell on an audience that, however distracted by the strenuousness of the sales pitch, still isn't buying.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
March 26, 2004
The Coens have taken what's timeless about the 1955 movie, rolled it around in their endlessly inventive comic minds and made it distinctly, and riotously, their own.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
March 26, 2004
Suddenly the Coen Brothers, of all people, seem to be playing it safe.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
March 26, 2004
Worth sticking with for Hanks' and Hall's superlative acting -- and a rollicking gospel score assembled by T. Bone Burnett.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
March 26, 2004
[The Coen brothers have] made a broad comedy out of a black comedy and completely lost its charm in the process.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
March 26, 2004
Always wildly signaling for us to notice it. Not content to be funny, it wants to be FUNNY! Have you ever noticed that the more a comedian wears funny hats, the less funny he is?
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
March 26, 2004
If you set your expectations low enough there are real laughs to be had, but coming to the Coens with low expectations somehow just feels wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 26, 2004
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
March 26, 2004
For those who share my taste in comedy, this is a must-not-miss.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
March 26, 2004
Hanks hasn't cut loose in a comedy like this in years.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
March 26, 2004
For all its idiosyncratic thrusts and jabs, the movie never takes off.
| Original Score: C
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
March 26, 2004
Hanks appears to be having the time of his life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 25, 2004
Buy the soundtrack now, rent the movie later -- this is minor Coen in a major key.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 25, 2004
A cute but insubstantial exercise in stylish silliness that will likely be quickly forgotten.
| Original Score: C+
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
March 25, 2004
Instead of feeling cleverly obtuse, the movie ... seems desperately wacky.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
March 25, 2004
Grounded in caricature and played for loud, unmodulated laughs, the film suffers from the same problems that affected the Coens' other big dud, The Hudsucker Proxy -- namely, little fun and no heartbeat.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
March 25, 2004
The film gets funny reflex laughs as well as a few of the unexpected guffaws that are the Coens' trademark. So go -- but with lowered expectations.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
March 25, 2004
Irritating when it should be amusing, dumb when it should be zany, flat when it should be snappy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
March 25, 2004
When the Coens are at their most creative ... their movies skip nonchalantly over genre lines and become uniquely their own. The Ladykillers is not one of those.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
March 25, 2004
The Coen brothers seem to have relocated to a ZIP code where blander movies are made.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
March 25, 2004
Already as dark as London soot, the comedy hardly needed work to bring it in line with the Coen brothers' sensibility, but the remake moves to a beat of its own, one unexpectedly in sync with the gospel music dominating its soundtrack.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
March 25, 2004
Tom Hanks seizes the chance to play a comic villain with almost indecent vaudevillian glee in this uneven, prankish caper comedy by Joel and Ethan Coen.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
March 25, 2004
You'll have to watch the original film to see it done right.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 25, 2004
I'm not sure whether it's been so long since Hanks has done comedy that he just seems fantastically funny or whether he really is. But he's clearly enjoying himself, and so are we.
| Original Score: 3/4
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John Anderson
Newsday
March 25, 2004
The movie is anything but concise, and Hanks is only fascinating because you can't quite believe he's doing what he's doing.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 25, 2004
Hanks is, as usual, on the top of his game.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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John Powers
L.A. Weekly
March 25, 2004
Bludgeons you with cartoonish gags about stupid football players, irritable-bowel syndrome and (for the second Coen film in a row) somebody accidentally shooting himself in the head.
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
March 25, 2004
[Hanks] lends the movie the full, devious force of his bristly spirit.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
March 25, 2004
Another offbeat Coen gem, gleaming with verbal and pictorial style, exploding with wit and slapstick.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
March 25, 2004
Hey, guys, let's go back to independent movies.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
March 18, 2004
The Coens' remake of a comedy classic flounders amid extreme caricatures and stained humor.