||Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J. K. Simmons,
Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, and George Wallace
Okay, let me qualify the sponge rating. If youíre
not too terribly hung up on the Coen brothers, you could conceivably
consider it six instead of five sponges. It is a good movie,
but Iím just thinking that many connoisseurs out there may be
demanding more from the Coen brothers. This is not necessarily
a film that I would really want to evangelize to people, but
itís a good movie, especially to see with friends. Granted,
itís already been done as a movie (Alec Guinness, anyone? Peter
Sellers?), but the Coens do put their own spin on it.
The basic story is that a con man (Hanks) uses his rented room
in a sweet old ladyís (Hall) house as an excuse to assemble
his band of robbers in order to use the root cellar to tunnel
their way into a vault. Itís a good ensemble piece, and Hanks
and Hall get enough face time. The Coens use their trademark
linguistic and musical explorations as nice window-dressing.
This time around, itís Hankís Southern drawl and over-the-top
vocabulary and Hallís gospel music. And you get to have a nice
unraveling as the story concludes.
Hanks doesnít burn up the screen, but he does plays a silly
character. Letís face it, anyone who first thinks Bosom
Buddies instead of Saving Private Ryan
when they hear Tom Hanksí name is going to feel heís right in
place here. The Coens tend to create worlds where the characters
go about doing their things with a ferocity of purpose, but
who nonetheless make it seem the most natural thing in the world.
These people donít get riled up to do what they were going to
do, but they certainly donít notice when things get in their
Look, this is just a fun movie to watch. Youíre not going to
consider yourself a more fully-fledged member of Western Civilization
if you see this movie, but thatís why Iím writing these movies
from this perspective anyway. Silly lines? Check. Uncomfortable
dismemberment? Check. Awkward caught-in-the-act moment? Check.
Implausable mayhem? Check. Story closure provided by a cat?
Check and check. So, this is a good movie for a Coen brothers
movie, let alone a regular Hollywood creation. Not their best,