Jack Black is a tough cat to judge, as his involvement in a project can mean the absolute worst or it can turn out to be something special. When properly used, Black toes a line between vulgar and corny that few others can, but my god the horrors he’s been involved with.

Bernie admittedly looks like it could be a something on the better end of the spectrum, as the synopsis promises a darkly funny story that sounds like a good fit for the comedian while under the direction of someone as talented as Richard Linklater.

In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town’s most beloved residents.  He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependant on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.

In this dark comedy, director Richard Linklater captures all the hilarity, friendliness, eccentricity and absolute strangeness of small-town Texas life.  Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, Shirley MacLaine plays Mrs. Nugent, and Matthew McConaughey plays the town’s blustery real-life District Attorney, Danny Buck Davidson, who was determined to get to the bottom of the crime.  Co-written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, BERNIE is a Mandalay Vision and Wind Dancer Films production. 

Interestingly, Linklater himself hasn’t made a huge impact with a film since he last paired with Jack Black for School of Rock, though he’s certainly done some interesting things like A Scanner Darkly in between. Judging from the poster and synopsis alone, perhaps this movie will be Linklater and Black’s The Informant, which would be alright by me.

Does Bernie pique your interest?

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