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'Ladykillers' tracks down, murders original

Photo courtesy of Touchstone pictures
Tom Hanks and a cast of stereotypes try to pull off a heist in "The Ladykillers," the new film from the Coen brothers of "Fargo," "The Big Lebowski" and "Raising Arizona".
By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, April 1, 2004
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Tom Hanks irritates me. I'm not really sure why or when it started. It may have something to do with the fact that his voice sounds like a bubble got caught in it, or like he ate a potato too fast. Regardless of this, I always stand in line to see his movies - like every good, noble, patriotic American does.

The title of his latest work, "The Ladykillers," implies a delightfully violent flick. No such luck. Maybe I should have just rented a Tarantino movie and called it a night. But I didn't.

The plot is exactly what one would imagine it to be from watching the previews. Hanks swoops in with his irritatingly crooked smile and gang of misfits, and engages in criminal activity under the nose of a very kind, elderly black woman.

The Ladykillers
Touchstone Pictures
Rated: R
104 min.
Now in theaters

His criminal posse most notably includes Marlon Wayans, who is merely playing the same character he plays in every film (see "Scary Movie," "Mo' Money," etc). I spent most of the movie trying to figure out where I've seen the other members of the posse. In the middle of the movie, I finally figured one of them out and yelled, "Remember the Titans"! I'd tell you the other ones, too, but I don't want to ruin that game for you. You'll need to play it to stay awake.

This movie definitely had potential. The plot was clever, but somewhat contrived. The acting was good, I guess. But something was missing. Jokes, maybe? Maybe something else. I can't really put my finger on it.

What I do know, though, is that I was bored. The gospel music interludes were entertaining, but not enough to keep my interest. The only good part of the movie was the end. You have to sit through a lot to get there, though. And I'm not entirely sure it's worth it.

Furthermore - not to force the point or anything - Tom Hanks is overrated in this movie. He was not that funny, he was melodramatic and he had really crooked teeth. Personally, I preferred the Asian general. But maybe that's just because of my liberal upbringing, and my unpatriotic sentiment as of late. Anti-American = Anti-Hanks.

I understand what writing and directing duo the Coen brothers were trying to do. It was attempting to provide a funny caricature of Southern life. Instead of being funny, the brothers were just using stereotypes that most people in our generation are tired of seeing: the black man who carries a gun and listens to hip-hop; a white intellectual taking advantage of everyone; a stupid, white football player with a good heart; a quiet, tough, uptight Asian general; and a liberal with irritable bowel syndrome. I can't take it anymore. Our society is unraveling.

My best advice to you, dear reader, is to see other good movies that are out before you see this one. See "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "Jersey Girl." I hear "Dawn of the Dead" is good. This is not a movie to go run and see. Wait until there is nothing else. And even then, I'd consider renting.

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