Friday, May 18, 2012

Bernie Review - 3 Stars

Based on the true story of the murder of “the meanest woman in Carthage, Texas” “Bernie” mixes actors with actual Carthage, Texas residents to tell what might be considered a terrible story in comic fashion.  Bernie worked for the local undertaker and charmed the town’s elderly widows with care and comfort during and after their husband’s funerals.  The real Bernie won over Carthage as a volunteer as well as a citizen willing to volunteer to community causes.  Jack Black plays Bernie as the kind of small town single man who enjoys the company of elderly women.  Shirley MacLaine portrays Margerie Nugent with a set jaw and intense stare and few words while she smothers the younger man who manages to win her confidence.  In real life, Bernie and Mrs. Nugent traveled and lived together, the younger man caring for the older woman.  One day Bernie snapped and short Mrs. Nugent in the back, stuffing her into a garage freezer.  In time the relatives, none of whom liked Mrs. Nugent and some of whom actually sued her, respond to her absence and direct the police on a search.  On trial the town rallies to Bernie but he goes to prison in spite of their support.  “Bernie” is a small slight movie but a fun one to watch.  Does it deliver what it promises?  True story of a murder played for laughs.  Is it entertaining?  I liked the actually residents who added perspective to the story.  Is it worth the price of admission?  It might help if you’re a Texan.