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Set in rural Mississippi during the 1930s, the latest misanthropic flimflam from the Coen brothers is like a Three Stooges episode featuring an even stupider version of the cast of Hee Haw. In this redneck kitsch burlesque, the Coens pile on gags about hair pomade, Bible-thumpin’ prophecy, even the Ku Klux Klan, yet there’s such an anvil-heavy archness to the whole affair that the effect is stultifying. As Everett, the leader of a trio of chain-gang escapees, George Clooney is leeched of his charisma.

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