It’s simply a very entertaining comedy about three quirky American convicts in the roaring 20s, and the Odyssey background affords the film makers the opportunity to create some visually stunning scenes that add another dimension to the comedy.
Together with his two sidekicks, the not too bright but lovable Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and the volatile Pete (John Turturro), Ulysses McGill stumbles on some encounters reminiscent of Homer but more in tone with William Faulkner. In one scene they’re drawn to three beautiful women, singing while they wash clothes in a rocky river and the aftermath of this siren encounter is one of the film’s best comic scenes. In another scene they meet a Bible salesman, played by John Goodman with a patch over one eye, and it’s not hard to imagine the battle with the giant Cyclops.
While there are no great messages in this film, and a fair amount of stereotyped characters, there is plenty of laughter and entertainment.
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