Picks and Pans Review: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Clark Gable is back, and Clooney has him—down cold, that is, with an amusing, dead-on impression of the fast-talking matinee idol in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the latest artfully wacky comedy by the brothers Coen. (Joel directed, Ethan produced, and both wrote the script.)
O Brother takes as its inspiration Homer's Odyssey, tracking the long journey home of Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney), an escapee from a chain gang, who is making his way back to his wife (Hunter) through Depression-era rural Mississippi. Along the way the garrulous Ulysses and his dim-witted convict companions (Turturro and Nelson) encounter all manner of strangers, including a buxom trio of backwoods sirens, a one-eyed Bible salesman (Goodman), bank robber Baby Face Nelson (Badalucco) and Ku Klux Klan members whose marching routines at a rally rival any created by Busby Berkeley.
The movie is immensely enjoyable and boasts a loose-limbed charm, but little of it stays with you afterward. That said, Clooney gives a wonderfully dapper performance, and O Brother boasts a glorious soundtrack bursting with old traditional that will have you heading for the record store as soon as the credits roll. (PG-13)
Bottom Line: Overflows with comic Southern discomfort