By Linley McCord
As far as quirky comedies go, “Hail, Caesar!” is pretty entertaining. A Coen brothers’ film (creators of “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”) that has the usual oddities, their latest is decently funny with a strong plot, leaning more towards the goat-staring variety of humor. If you’re into that kind of underhand joking, “Hail, Caesar!” is worth the watch.
The film centers around a particularly weird day for Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a higher-up at Capitol Pictures in the mid-1960’s. He bounces from set to set, trying to put out fires and set appointments in the booming Hollywood movie business. The newest feature film, called “Hail, Caesar!” is about a Roman centurion who comes to believe in Jesus Christ. But when the main actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped by questionable people, Mannix faces some problems.
There are an overwhelming number of things going on in this plot. You’ll follow several different storylines that interweave each other, all with Eddie Mannix in the center trying to fix everything. The humor is distinct in that there isn’t a lot like it, but you will definitely get some good laughs out of it.
Character-wise, the film is impressive. The cast is star-studded with George Clooney, Scarlett Johannson, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and many others. The characters are well rounded and their own individuals—all are fairly unpredictable and very convincing in their roles that range from dopey Hollywood veteran to an unfiltered glamor queen.
But the movie is longer and more complicated than it needs to be. While each plotline is funny in its own way, each is too complex. The first thirty minutes are a tedious and slow as they build up to the main plot of the movie. It’s tastefully 1960’s: not so nostalgic that it’s overdone but enough for you to appreciate the culture of the time.
If you don’t know that this is going to be quirky when you go in, you probably won’t like it. But if you take the goofy, offhand humor for what it is, “Hail, Caesar!” is a quality film.
PG-13 for action and language.