(CBS SF) – KCBS Entertainment Reporter, Jan Wahl reviews 'Bernie' staring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey and Rip Torn.
At last. This is a comedy to go out of your way to see. Too original to call it a kind of modern day Harold and Maude meets Pleasantville, with real life thrown in.
In the small, rural town of Carthage, Texas, Assistant Funeral Director Bernie is one of the town's most beloved residents. He teaches Sunday school, stars in the town play, is always the one ready with a helping hand. He is everything beloved in this small town, and the residents tell us why and how much he means to each and every one of them.
Bernie (Jack Black, in his best role including School of Rock!) is played with a depth of sincerity that makes it all believable. Our man Bernie, for by now we are invested in his kindness too, meets up with an affluent widow (Shirley MacLaine), as well known for her mean disposition as for her fortune. They become so close, he ends up handling all her affairs. Then, the entire film turns, and the ride is well worth taking.
Director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Me and Orson Welles) brings out the wit and satire while keeping it real, as well as finding the goodness and heart in this true tale. Wait for the final credits when we meet the real Bernie. Four hats.
See Right Now: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bully, The Hunger Games, The Avengers
Home Viewing/DVD: Albert Nobbs, Rampart, We Were Here, Voices from the AIDS Years in San Francisco, Joyful Noise.
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
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