Main cast: Tom Hanks (Professor GH Dorr), Irma P Hall (Marva Munson), Marlon Wayans (Gawain MacSam), JK Simmons (Garth Pancake), Tzi Ma (The General), Ryan Hurst (Lump Hudson), Diane Delano (Mountain Girl), George Wallace (Sheriff Wyner), John McConnell (Deputy Sheriff), Jason Weaver (Weemack Funthes), Stephen Root (Fernand Gudge), Baadja-Lyne Odums (Rosalie Funthes), and Walter Jordan (Elron)
Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen
I have not seen the original 1955 version of this movie but I know that movie is much funnier than this particular remake of The Ladykillers. This is because even the telephone book is funnier than this movie. Imagine my surprise that this movie is directed and produced by the Coen brothers because the whole thing comes off more like an unfunny collaborative effort between Martin Lawrence and the Wayans brothers.
Professor GH Dorr, who is convinced that he is a genius when it comes to planning the heist of the century, has a plan. A Mississippi riverboat casino is his target. He rents a room from an unsuspecting loud-mouthed sassy Marva Munson and lets her believe that his accomplices are musicians visiting him for training sessions when in truth these men are plotting to create an underground passage from the house to the casino and help themselves to all the money they can get their hands on. When Marva finds out what they are up to and insists that they return the money and be good boys the way the Lord will approve, they decide to get rid of that fat bossy old woman. How hard can that be, right? They will find out soon enough, the poor dears.
The problem with The Ladykillers is that it is not funny anymore if one has seen any Wayan brothers or Martin Lawrence comedies before because this movie has Marva decked out in all the embarrassing loud-mouthed God-fearing bitch-slapping black woman cliché that has been done to death since Hollywood discovers that black woman bitchslapping people with attitude is comedy gold to be mined dry. As a result, Marva’s superhuman nature is predictable rather than unexpected. The comedy is very physical with an emphasis on slapstick and body function jokes. Truly, I am convinced that this movie is a Wayans brothers effort rather than the Coen brothers’.
Tom Hanks is really miscast here because whatever comedic timing he has displayed in the past before he appoints himself the Savior of Hollywood is not evident here. He’s too guarded and careful here, as if he is worried that he may blow his Mr Nice Guy image too much. On the other hand, Marlon Wayans is predictably loud and unfunny in his role as the male stereotypical counterpart of Marva. However, the rest of the criminal crew, with the notable exception of JK Simmons’s Garth Pancake, are pretty nondescript. The only cast member that really stands out in this movie is Irma P Hall, but that’s because she’s loud and in your face in her role.
The Ladykillers is a bumbling bore of a comedy with not many memorable or amusing moments apart from that death scene involving a dastardly raven. Needless to say, it is a tedious chore to sit through.