Andrew Ferguson’s review:
The small-town story of Bernie Tiede is one of such peculiarity, one that certainly had "Make me into a movie!" written all over it, and it got the exact kind of treatment it deserved when it was placed into the hands of Richard Linklater. He is a filmmaker that is always looking for a new direction to go in, and being from the Texas area that the events of this film took place in, he was already familiar.
Linklater worked so closely with many of the actual people involved (including co-writing the screenplay with Skip Hollandsworth, the man who wrote the original news article) that the film has a semi-documentary feel to it, and it works. Bernie Tiede is played with a perfect balance of quirky tones and reserved feelings from Jack Black, who gives the most impressive performance of his career. Linklater always knows how to bring out another side of his actors, and here he not only re-teams with Black, but also with Matthew McConaughey for the first time since The Newton Boys, and again he coaxes a delirious side out of the Texas-born actor that adds to his recent surge of better decisions, and in turn better performances.
It's another diverse turn for Linklater that works well, making this one of the more original films of 2012.