Jay Allen Sanford 12:58 a.m., May 21
Jack Black is the life-based but rather cartoonish Bernie, a sweet, dapper, fussy (read: gay) undertaker in Carthage, Texas. He is an angel disguised as an oddball, loved by all, even (for a time) the mean widow Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine). Director Richard Linklater provides a cozy jacket of style, is patronizingly fond of local yokels, and handles dark aspects (murder, prejudice) with tongs of whimsy. It is Black’s movie, a quaint package of Southern Gothic with a Coen Brothers flavor. 2012.
— David Elliott