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Bernie
Don Fowler
4 stars
Reviewer's Rating:

(Farcical black comedy)

Based on a true story, Bernie will delight you with its farcical approach to black comedy featuring Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. Talk about an odd couple.

Black plays an assistant funeral director who is loved and respected by everyone in a small Texas town. He befriends a rich, mean, hateful, sourpuss widow (MacLaine) who nobody can stand. Bernie and Marjorie become quite an item. They travel to exotic places, attend cultural events and are constant companions, even though there are strong suggestions of Bernie's sexuality.

Much to the dismay of Marjorie's financial advisor, Bernie starts handling her money. Marjorie becomes dependent upon him and slowly starts controlling him. While Bernie is initially submissive, the burden is soon too much to carry.

You know what is coming, so I can tell you that Bernie shoots her and stuffs her in the freezer. This leads to a trial that has to be held out of town because the townspeople are all biased toward Bernie.

Sounds like a simple enough story...and it is. How it is told is what makes the movie such a delight. We get to meet dozens of wonderful, opinionated townsfolk who do not hesitate to tell the story and give their biased opinions.

Black and MacClaine are marvelous, as is Matthew MacConaughey as the prosecuting attorney. There are so many funny lines and oddball humor that the large crowd at the popular Wednesday Senior Matinee at Warwick Showcase got caught up in infectious laughter.

Rated PG-13, with some minor profanity. Young folks probably won't get the black humor.


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