Friday, March 05, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: A Serious Man

Number of Nominations: 2 (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay)
Availability in the US: DVD, Blu-ray

A Serious Man is a dark(ish) comedy from the masters of dark comedies: Joel and Ethan Coen. The plot follows Larry Gopnik, a modern-day Job who can't seem to catch a break: his wife is leaving him, his tenure at work is in danger, and his good-for-nothing brother is crashing on his couch and hogging his bathroom.

A Serious Man is more Jewish than my Bar Mitzvah; while I find the humor hilarious and entertaining, the film probably doesn't read to everyone. It succeeds as a niche film, and it certainly has aspects that those who may not understand all the humor will enjoy, but I doubt it has enough wide-scale appeal for even the Academy to award it either of the Oscars for which it is nominated.

The entire cast does an excellent job, though there are two supporting players who really stand out: Richard Kind (best known for TV's Spin City and Mad About You) as the free-loading, bathroom-hogging Uncle Arthur and Fred Melamed as Larry's wife's lover.

The script is both funny and touching, and the dialogue is clever and engaging. Although it is not the front-runner for Original Screenplay, never count the Coen brothers out in an Oscar race.

Grade: B+

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