Hail, Caesar!

February 11, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment
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It’s hard to argue with the brilliance of Joel and Ethan Coen. Their collective genius is behind such films as “Fargo,” “The Big Lebowski,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Blood Simple,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”… (and the list goes on). Yet, for all of that, they do have their missteps. They have proven themselves to be masters at dark, nihilistic, taut dramas (see above) and they have also shown that they can have a keen eye for ridiculous, laugh-out-loud comedy (see also the above). But sometimes their humor (which can be described as a bit wacky on its best days) can sometimes stray into the outright silly; silly, in fact, to the point of inconsequential.  Perhaps their best work, as in “Blood Simple” or “Fargo” is darkness with a bite. Here, however, there is neither any darkness or any real bite. They do stray into some light commentary about the film industry, following one’s passions, etc. But it is all so light, it evaporates without even being noticed. Instead, this film tries to be good-natured fun, with an extra helping of goofy, just to make sure you chuckle. And, like most of the Coens’ other goofier works (“Burn Before Reading,” “The Lady Killers”), this one just leaves no lasting impression. It was mildly funny in parts and even really funny a few times (relative unknown, Alden Ehrenreich, is a real scene stealer) but it never once left me wanting more. By the time the credits rolled, my mind was already on to other things. That may be par for the course for most directors but, when it’s the Coens, one can’t help but be disappointed.

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