I don't care how many times Jack Black gets typecast, I still have a real weakness for him. Throw in a good director (Richard Linklater) and a couple of oddball actors (Shirley Maclaine and Matthew McConaughey) and you got yourself a movie that's worth watching.
This is a black comedy in the truest sense of the word. Beloved local figure, Bernie, just so happens to fall into a relationship with an elderly widow. This widow is truly horrid, and has managed to alienate just about all of her surviving family, as well as most of the town. Nobody likes her, until Bernie comes along, and he is the only person who is nice to her. Somehow, he gets past the initial hurts that she inflicts on everybody to keep them away, and soon she has hired him as a personal assistant. Whether the relationship goes beyond personal assistant is left for the viewer to guess at. Eventually, the widow is entirely dependent on Bernie, and Bernie is simulatenously dependent on her for his livelihood. He doesn't have any space from her in his daily life, and eventually, he just up and shoots her. Hilarious mockumentary-except-that-it's-actually-based-on-a-true-story ensues.
The acting in this is top notch. Few of the characters in this movie are simple, and Black, particularly, carries his role off with a goofy earnestness that perfectly fits the real life character. Matthew McConaughey as the small-town Texas District Attorney is also amazing.
This film, despite its star power, flew under the radar. It's definitely worth looking for.