Review: Hail, Caesar!
Hail, Caesar! is the story about a man struggling with his job and thus his life. In this latest film by the Coen Brothers Eddie Mannix is an executive at Capitol Pictures. He is the head of production and spends his days and nights finding creative ways to fix problems his actors create.
For example, the studio’s swimming pool musical star is pregnant and not married. He goes to the studio lawyer and asks “can a mother adopt her own child.” And now Baird Whitlock, the studio’s biggest star, is missing! He has been kidnapped by a “Study Group” of Malibu Communists.
Though Eddie is good at what he does, he is conflicted. Sometimes his job is so hard. And he has an opportunity to move on to a new job that would be simpler and maybe better for his family. What is he to do?
Well, it almost doesn’t matter what he does because the story is a simple vehicle to see this loving, kind, parody/tribute to the movie business in the 1950s. The Coens have given us a collection of hilarious and odd characters to spend too little time with.
Josh Brolin is Eddie as the good man caught up in the crazy world of the movie business. He is good man that has to lie and bribe to keep things together. But he also feels that “striking a movie star in anger” is a sin that needs absolution. Brolin is perfectly serious, likable and engaging as Eddie. This is his story and we want him to negotiate all of the odd obstacles that confront him.
George Clooney is Baird the clueless star. So, oblivious to reality that he actually treats his abduction as invitation to a retreat. He actually asks his abductors if he will get a cut of the ransom money. The supercilious Communists tell him that “you can’t share in your own ransom that would be unethical.” Of course, no one can do clueless better than Clooney. He as a look that all by itself makes me laugh out loud. And so some strange reason George is also incredibly believable as a movie star.
And for me the best scene of the film is where the British upper crust director, Laurence Laurentz is trying to fit the western start Hobie Doyle into a posh drawing room drama. The hick accented Hobie, played by Alden Ehrenreich, trying to affect the manor house accent of Ralph Fiennes Laurentz is beautifully absurd.
We also get a first class musical/dance numbers courtesy of Channing Tatum as the oddly dramatic Burt Gurney, and Scarlett Johansson as the pregnant Esther Williams-type star.
So, go see this movie as soon as possible. You will not want to be left out when at work on Monday when the constant laughter around the water cooler is because everyone is saying “where that it twereee so simple”