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'Bernie' Trailer: Jack Black is a Kindly Murderer (Video)

UPDATE:The comedic actor plays a mortician in Millennium Entertainment's new film from Richard Linklater.

Jack Black Bernie Screengrab - H 2012

Jack Black dons his best southern accent -- and mustache -- as the star in a Lone Star dark comedy.

Stepping back from big budget studio projects, Black plays the title character in Bernie, Richard Linklater's film based on the 1996 murder of an elderly millionaire widow in the town of Carthage, Texas. The woman, with whom Bernie strikes up an odd -- and lucrative -- friendship before killing, is played by Shirley MacLaine. Matthew McConaughey plays the district attorney bent on investigating and convicting the killer, who was previously known as the nicest, most cleancut guy in town.

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Linklater, Black's School of Rock partner, co-wrote with Skip Hollandsworth, the journalist who wrote the Texas Monthly story on which the movie is based.

Debuting at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Fest, the film garnered lukewarm reviews, with THR critic Todd McCarthy writing, "In all events, Black's characterization is strong enough to have accommodated any approach, but Linklater establishes no incisive point of view or sense of a bigger picture; in the end, the film is too mild for the insidious incident that anchors it."

The film, distributed by Millennium Entertainment, will play at SXSW and start a limited run in theaters on April 27. Black plays a nearly-bankrupt loser striving to turn his life around in Michael Winterbottom's Bailout, which was picked up by Sony Pictures Worldwide in November.