Dir. Richard Linklater. 2011. USA. 104 mins. Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey.
First published on . Updated on 3 Dec 2012.
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Linklater returns to his small-town Texas roots for this unpredictable, witty, funny-peculiar true tale of a popular mortician and his doomed friendship with a wealthy widow. Black adds a slippery, obsequious veneer to his usual loveable doofus as Bernie, the most popular and generous guy in the town of Carthage, whose one act of unkindness is unfortunately both extreme and highly illegal. Despite its roots in a real tale, this is an unashamedly playful and idiosyncratic film for Linklater, closer to the Wes Anderson of Rushmore than to his own back catalogue. The result is slight and sometimes awkward, but very funny and lovingly presented. Tom Huddleston