Friday, August 25, 2006

The Hudsucker Proxy

Title: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
Dir: Joel Coen
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

Another Coen Brothers gem! And let's not forget co-writer/man-god Sam Raimi! This is an incredibly witty, original comedy and I'm ashamed I waited so long to see it.

The Hudsucker Proxy is about naive mailboy Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), who is appointed head of Hudsucker Industries in a scheme by the board members to buy out the company when the stocks plumet. Little do they know that their dimwitted fall guy has an invention up his sleeve that will take the world by storm.

Proxy is a throwback to old-fashioned filmmaking, namely the Capra days. The set design is beautiful and inventive; the dialogue is witty and fresh; every performance is skillfully delivered. This is hands-down the most I have ever liked Tim Robbins in a movie. As the wide-eyed Norville, he is hilarious and completely genuine.

Paul Newman portrays Sidney J. Mussburger, head of the Hudsucker Board of Directors. His performance is flawless and darkly funny. And then there's Jennifer Jason Leigh as fast-talking jouranlist, Amy Archer. She is the real stand-out of the movie and her Katherine Hepburn-esque performance makes her scenes come alive.

This film has a dark, fantastical feel that reminds me of Terry Gilliam's Brazil (not a bad thing at all). The Coens can strike a perfect balance between morbid and hilarious (afterall, Proxy revolves around a suicide). The script, which they co-wrote with Sam Raimi, is chock full of old-timey dialect, sight gags, and the usual hilarious repetition that defines a Coen film ("Ya know, for kids!"). Combined with great acting and Joel's incredibly vivid direction, The Hudsucker Proxy is another fun, original work from three filmmakers you can always depend upon.