REVIEWED
7/28/04

STORY



LOOK

The Hudsucker Proxy
Director: Joel Coen
Year: 1994
TRT: 1:51


A true Coen brothers fairy tale, complete with a man committing suicide in the first 5 minutes, a suspiciously omniscient black man who narrates, and Bruce "Bubba Ho-Tep" Campbell. You gotta love it (or at least appreciate it after Oh Brother, Where Art Thou). Kind of a precursor film in a way with the Coens' love of the film noir, this one feels a bit more hectic in telling and not so polished in character, but still an enjoyably quirky little film.

Small-town schlub Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) goes to the big city with big plans, only to be shut down by pure lack experience. But he gets an (un)lucky break as Sidney Mussberger (Paul Newman), recently appointed head of the giant Hudsucker Industries, takes a particular interest in the boy (solely in the interest of the business, you know, it ain't that kind of movie). Throw in an over-ambitious female reporter (Jennifer Leigh) and her sidekick (Bruce "Crimewave" Campbell) to uncover the truth, and all shit goes to hell in a handbasket. Well, not really. If I told you what really happens, it would spoil it for you. But it is a fairy-tale kind of story, so needless to say, a simple man with simple plans wreaks havoc on the scheming cocksucker's well-laid plans.

A bit over the top in some ways, but that's kinda what makes it a Coen-brothers movie. A couple of smaller roles by some regulars, including Charles Durning, Steve Buscemi and Bruce "Brisco County Jr." Campbell, plus has some decent music. This is the 2nd of 8 movies (to date) with Roger Deakins as Cinematographer, definitely giving the film a unique and appropriate visual style for the year 1958, in which it takes place. Also to note, the writers are Joel, Ethan, and Sam "Spider-Man 2" Raimi.

Great Scene: 20 seconds. The "Proving Facility" for Hudsucker Industries when testing the "Dingus." The 60 second orientation is pretty good, too. And Barnes's pitch to the board for his new invention. Overall, a lot of great minor scenes stitched together, really. Just lacks an overall flow in some way. Plus they cast Jennifer Leigh (who is alright as the fast-talking reporter, but registers more on the lame-o side of the Nicole Kidman scale of bad acting).

DVD Notes: Craptastic edition put out by the WB, featuring the dual-sided Fullscreen/Widescreen format-with-no-extras pukefest (again I say, cheap bastards!).