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o Walking and Talking
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o Love and Other Catastrophes

copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | The Hudsucker Proxy 1994
Directed by: Joel Coen
Written by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Starring: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
artsy-fartsy, nostalgic, whimsical, witty

Plot synopsis It’s 1958 and the president of Hudsucker Industries, Mr. Waring Hudsucker himself, has just taken a flying leap out the window from the top story of the company’s very high skyscraper, this during the middle of a board meeting. The board members are left in a panic, since a loophole in the company bylaws means that the entirety of Mr. Hudsucker’s majority share of the company will be made public. Since the bigwigs certainly aren’t going to let all the ordinary Joes waltz in off the street to buy up shares and steal control of their very successful company, they hatch a plan: they’ll hire the biggest moron they can find and let him run the company into the ground, thus sending the stock price plummeting and allowing the devious board members to snatch up the shares at rock-bottom prices. They think they’ve found the perfect dimwit in dementedly cheerful mailroom worker Norville Barnes, who’s thrilled to get the chance to turn his small-town dreams (Norville is, after all, a recent graduate of the Muncie School of Business) into a reality. Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Amy Archer smells something fishy, however, and vows to get to the bottom of the goings-on at Hudsucker Industries. But when Norville’s idea for a new kids toy – the Hula Hoop – turns out to be a big hit, everyone’s thrown for a loop.

Review Hilariously wacky, this Coen brothers flick is both a satirical takeoff on and an homage to an earlier age of American filmmaking, when movie characters talked like stage stars and movie dialogue meant rapid-fire banter and sly double entendres that were far wittier than anything anyone could come up with in real life. The actors deliver dead-on perfect performances, particularly Tim Robbins as naïve Norville and Paul Newman as Sidney Mussberger, the scheming head of the board of directors, but it’s the gorgeous art direction and cinematography that really steal the show. The movie’s snappy pacing and abundance of absurdist humor (made all the more comical with its straightfaced delivery) will keep you very well-entertained, and its feel-good happy ending makes it one of the lighter Coen brothers movies.



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