The Hudsucker Proxy review by Jackass Tom

You know, for kids!

There are plenty of Christmas movies out there. Its become a tired genre too. What has come out lately? The Santa Clause 1 and 2, The Family Man, Jingle All the Way, and Jack Frost. These are all pretty much garbage films. What else is there to say about Christmas that can’t be summed up in A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and It’s a Wonderful Life? So how often do you see a film around the time of New Year’s Eve? Well, in all fairness, The Hudsucker Proxy isn’t about New Year’s Eve, it just uses it as a backdrop for a hilarious Coen Brothers creation about a small town dope from Muncie, Indiana making it big in the Big Apple.

Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) is that dope! He graduated top of his class in some business school in dear old Muncie (the likes of which you’ve probably never heard of) and comes to New York City with eyes as big as saucers hoping to catch that opportunity to hit it big. He reeks of small town from his unpolished shoes to his patched up suite case to the glazed over look in his eyes to his goofy haircut. He is the genuine article; the type New York eats for breakfast. But he has a great idea, hidden in the soles of his shoe, folded over twice. To a fast moving city type, it appears to be a circle, but Norville isn’t as dumb as he looks.

Fate leads him to his job working in the mailroom Hudsucker Industries (44 floors counting the mezzanine). Its not best place to start but remember: he has plans. As he enters the building for his first day, Warring Hudsucker (owner and founder) exits … from the 43rd floor (not counting the mezzanine).

Immediately following his death, the Hudsucker board immediately turns their attention business and more importantly who will take over. Its business after all, and you can’t mourn the death of one of its employees for too long. After finding out his stock will hit the market on New Years Day (hence a ‘New Years Eve film’) for any schmoe to pick up, Sidney Musberger (Paul Newman) has an idea: put in a patsy that the market will be afraid of to drive down the price so it won’t seem as tempting. That patsy is Barnes. Everyone on the board has a good laugh as the stock starts to drop, but ole Norville does have an idea up his sleeve. Remember, he isn’t as dumb as he looks.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a newspaper reporter who is a throwback to Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. She is a fast talking career gal who can hold her own with the guys and sometimes thinks she is one of the guys. Her lines are delivered at a speed of light pace (just like Russell’s), and sometimes this movie requires the rewind button to catch all of what she says. At first she thinks that Norville is a chump just like Hudsucker but then becomes his love interest as she realizes there is something pure about him that she has been lacking in her face paced world.

The Coens adapt to yet another genre and combine elements of screwball comedies with Frank Capra-esque “small town guy making a difference” edge. Themes of the movie are the usual. Those who deserve a second chance will receive it and use it appropriately. Also there is stress on the stresses of business and how they can overwhelm even the most easy going and down to earth souls. In a way its kind of like Office Space: a movie you can watch after having a rough day at work. Hudsucker reminds you to leave work on your desk and leave it out of your personal life. The Coen’s writing is at another level as usual, and the camera moves everywhere. Hudsucker is one of their little known films, and probably one of their least successful (although how many ‘successes’ popularity wise have they really had?). This movie is one you can watch over and over again and there are still major laughs and plenty of entertainment.

7 out of 10 Jackasses
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