20. The Ladykillers (2004)
Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen
Ardent fans, or, better yet, apologists, of filmmaking siblings Joel and Ethan Coen swear that the brothers’ lightweight, immediately forgettable comedy The Ladykillers is a misunderstood sleeper. They’re incorrect, of course, but such loyalty to artists is commendable.
At their comedic best, the Coens mine uncomfortable laughs from subtly awkward exchanges and unforeseen outbursts of violence (i.e., in The Big Lebowski, Fargo, Burn After Reading); throughout The Ladykillers, though, the jokes are telegraphed, if not downright forced, and the performances practically scream “Look, we’re zany!” It's as if the Farrelly brothers stepped into the directors' chairs at the last minute and no one bothered to tell the studio.