Jack Black's performance as the affable, lovable, Christian pillar of the community Bernie Tiede is understated, engaging, and believable even in its irony. If you've lived in the South or in Texas, you will recognize the "persona" of Bernie and the various townspeople. I worked as a reporter in Oklahoma for years and wow, the director of this film nailed small town life. Shirley MacLaine brings her best to the table as the dour widow everyone loves to hate. Who's controlling who in this movie? Is Bernie manipulating her or is she manipulating him? The movie manages to tackle a serious subject and make you laugh along the way. Fun film and Jack Black deserves an AWARD for his acting and singing in this.