Hail, Caesar: Review / by Kenneth Buff

Well, it’s February. It’s the garbage month for movies. It’s the month where studios dump their biggest critical stinkers, their movies that they have absolutely no confidence in making back any money, or in anyone even liking. But when you’re me, that still doesn’t stop you from going to the theater, so without further ado, here’s my review of Hail, Caesar.

Hail, Caesar is the latest film by the Coen Brothers (The guys behind The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, True Grit etc.) It’s a comedy, in the vein of Burn After Reading. It follows a big Hollywood film producer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) during the 1950’s, as he tries to track down the kidnapped star (George Clooney) of their prestige picture, “Hail Caesar.” That’s the main plot, but there’s lots of little subplots following big stars, like Scarlett Johnason, Johna Hill, Channing Tatum, Linda Swinton, but the funnest subplot is Alden Ehrenreich's, who plays an actor typed cast as a cowboy, who’s forced by the studio to star in a bourgeois picture, something like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, when he’s more of an Oklahoma! kind of guy.

The beauty of the film is its ability to be able to mimic the given film type it’s going for with perfection. Scarlette Johanson swims in a gigantic and ornate pool as a mermaid in a long beautiful scene that you’d only find in a 1950’s movie (think of those never ending dance numbers in Mary Poppins or Singin’ In The Rain), Channing Tatum steals the show with a hilarious parody/homage to Singin’ In The Rain where he dances in a ridiculously long and entertaining number as a seaman about to set sail with the US Navy. The film also mimic’s the Oklahoma! westerns of the era with Alden Ehrenreich standing in for every cowboy cliché of the time (and man, can that guy lasso!)

The only thing that interrupts the fun is the slow pacing at the beginning of the film, and the lack of a satisfying climax. Hail, Caesar is still a fun effort by the Coens, and manages to escape the month of February without smelling completely like shit. And that’s a win.