On another catch up review for 2016, Lee and Maria take a quick look at Coen Brothers ensemble “Hail, Caesar!”
As a comedy, “Hail, Caesar” will only truly be funny once, if at all. And that’s fine. The jokes are mostly image-based, using surprise and over-the-top slapstick gestures to get a laugh, or jokes relying on old archetypes of humour, such as the ol’ “not like this, like this” gag and the “but-you-said misunderstanding because you have a twin” bit; all of which is fine. Mostly because “Hail, Caesar” isn’t a comedy, and any laughs you get from watching are happy accidents, but also because it fits the overall pastiche the movie is going for.
But a well told character study and a well captured world don’t count for much if your characters are mostly unlikeable and forgettable idiots, ensemble step-ins and bit jokes. Sure, it’s clever, and neat that an argumentative loophole creates itself when the point is that all these characters are supposed to be idiots and unlikeable because it helps serve the message that our main character works in hell; but isn’t that just a bit of a drag?
And sure, if a film should be a drag, be a drag. But it’s not? It’s relatively fast moving and quirky, especially when we focus on the actors (in the story, not real life). Ah, but that’s to show how zany these characters are, and how that affects the main character; the drag in this case is how crazy it is all the time. Well that makes for uneven story presentation. But that’s the point?
Who cares, ultimately. The Coens sure won’t, it’s a passion project anyway. Cleverness is an inconsistent defence strategy, because it turns people off even if it makes sense. But since we’re playing coy with consistency, this review doesn’t need to be consistent either.
I preferred Hudsucker Proxy. At least it was sillier.
Watch this film on mute because it’s really pretty and totally plotless. Not intentionally funny and Channing Tatum was easily the best part. It still doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure if you read into it like a mental person you’ll dig up some crazy themes but nobody got time for that.
[Lee’s Review was originally posted 13/05/16]