The Hudsucker Proxy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hudsucker Proxy Reviews

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½ February 7, 2015
One of the worst oen bros movies but still good. Jennifer Jason Leigh is doing a Kathrine Hepburn impression that's a little to obvious to work. Tons of great unique characters in this film. You get the feeling the Coens made this movie partially for themselves to satisfy a love of art deco and black and white movies. There are a couple old movies with similar plots and a few movies after that have the same. a few good silly laughts as well.
Robbanflix
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
This is a comedy by Coen's altho it didn't deliver so much of that i thought. Atleast not as much as some of the other Coen movies. But the movie strengths are once again the great acting with a pretty good story. Tim Robbins plays a man with no job but gets a job as president at Hudsucker but with a scam behind the lucky opportunity.. Overall a nice movie from the Coen's but not quite in the same league as Fargo or other superb flicks.
December 24, 2014
The Coen Brothers don't make bad movies. Hudsucker is on par with their other creations Raising Arizona and Big Lebowski. It's an excellent sendup of Capra-style morality plays with beautiful compositions and cinematography, insidious humor, and pitch perfect performances from Newman, Robbins, Durning, Leigh and Buscemi(!). Some reviewers tend to rate this one lower in the Coen filmography because it's a little more comedy/schmaltzy than the others; all it shows to me is that they're capable of working at an incrediby high level in any style. And that flexibility is, after all, the definition of an auteur. If you haven't seen this, take the time!
December 24, 2014
I cannot understand how people do not love this movie. Thank you Coen brothers!
December 2, 2014
Not the Coens best film, but I appreciated it more this time than the first. Newman is great, and it's an homage to the Screwball Comedy which I like. Thought it doesn't totally work, there's a lot of worthwhile elements and it's definitely worth a watch!
October 16, 2014
I guess this is supposed to be a comedy but it's barely funny at all.
September 24, 2014
One of my favorite movies of all time.
September 14, 2014
A bizarre misfire, The Hudsucker Proxy was a movie that I wanted to like a lot because I like the Coen Brothers, I like Tim Robbins, and I like hula hoops, but overall this movie is just trying to be quirky for the sake of being quirky.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2014
A unfairly maligned and disregarded Coen brothers film. It's aged better than a lot of early 90s comedies (mostly likely due to it's unique visual style) and the performances of Robbins, Leigh, and Newman all have just the right amount of over-the-top intensity.
August 28, 2014
This is a film about life in the corporate rat race. After the president of the Hudsucker Corporation commits suicide the board decides to put a moron in his place in order to make the stocks more affordable. Norville Barnes (played by Tim Robbins) is that moron, but despite his lack of brains things don't go quite the way the board planned. I got a lot of laughs out of this movie. Perhaps the most entertaining part was the surreal elements, like the overly structured mail room or the montage filled with people just laughing. It feels like a Terry Gilliam film at times, particularly in that mail room, and perhaps his films did inspire the Coens. I think one of my only issues with the film was the fact that I wasn't sure which elements of the story were supposed to be far-fetched and which were normal within the world they created. For instance, Norville proposes a concept that is merely a circle, obviously I think this is an idiotic thing and makes no sense. But we're already in a world where some mailboxes are miniature-sized and therefore the mail staff throws away items that are too large to fit, which seems equally idiotic. I guess I was just confused over where the line is drawn between fantasy and reality (which is the same issue I have with many of Gilliam's films.)

While I did have some problems figuring out those boundaries in the world they created, it was still a very interesting creation. I loved the idea of the quickly flipping boards that showed job openings that were available, and the ticker-tapes that just constantly filled the Hudsucker offices. It felt exaggerated just enough to add humor, but not so extreme that it was cartoony. That's not to say I mind those moments when the magical realism hits and it becomes somewhat cartoony. It actually adds something to the humor of the situations, and I love how the screenwriters basically cheat in order to get the protagonist out of a difficult situation. I didn't enjoy the seeming battle between good and evil they threw in, because that felt unnecessarily heavy-handed, but it didn't hurt the story very much. I will say that one of the oddest decisions they made was setting the movie in the 1950s, but then inserting Amy Archer (a reporter played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who feels like she was plucked out of a 1930s film. She is way over-the-top, and I didn't like how she contrasted with everything else that was going on. In fact her entire character rubbed me the wrong way. Despite a few minor missteps I still found The Hudsucker Proxy to be an extremely fun film that entertained throughout. I was genuinely surprised by how much I laughed, and I would gladly watch it again whenever I have the opportunity.
½ July 29, 2014
(First and only viewing - 12/6/2010)
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2014
By this time in 1994, the Coen brothers were still on something of a high from the biting drama "Barton Fink", while Robbins was wrapping up with "The Shawshank Redemption", so, of course, the only natural progression from there is a screwball comedy. You know, I think that you should probably figure out what you're in for when you find that this business-themed period piece is about the invention of the hula-hoop, and even approaches such subject matter loosely, but hey, if anyone can make subject matter like that interesting, well, the Coens wouldn't be my first choice, even if "Blood Simple" was already ten years old by the release of this film. I joke about how the Coens are expected to do straight pictures, but "Barton Fink" was quite the colorful black comedy, and keep in mind that the Coens also had "Raising Arizona" under their belt by this time, so over-the-top comedy was more expected than dry dramas like "Blood Simple". Well, I don't exactly know why they had to go through the trouble of having the script co-written by Sam Raimi, who was still on a high from "Army of Darkness", unless Raimi owed the Coens for getting them to co-write "Crimewave" when they were up-and-comers who couldn't afford big flops like that. Shoot, if you ask me, I'd say Rami owes the Coens again for this film, because I don't know if the Coens and Raimi have quite the same taste in slapstick. They must have been throwing someone off with this collaboration, because this film was a critical disappointment, and, boy howdy, was it ever a financial disappointment, and yet, compared to "Crimewave", it's a successful as, well, "The Shawshank Redemption". In terms of quality, however, well, I don't know what to tell you, because, like everyone else, I didn't see "Crimewave", but I can tell you that this film is decent on its own, no matter how hard it may be to keep from comparing this flick to others.

By this time, the Coen brothers had made their share of filmmaking breakthroughs, but here, they don't simply fail too innovate, but have a tendency to underplay satire to the point of making the tropes feel more trite than self-aware, and when these thematic conventions meet structural conventions, you end up with a surprisingly formulaic telling of a tale of limited consequence to begin with. As you can imagine, this film's story concept is nothing special, being mostly fluffy with only an ambition for wit, rather than meat, which is distancing enough without being largely defined by characters who, even on paper, are thinly drawn and unlikable in a lot of ways. It's hard to not question a lot of elements in the film's narrative ideas, and their interpretation doesn't help, as the Coens' and Sam Raimi's script flaunts its share of set pieces which are too improbable to be embraced in the concept of an intentionally screwball plot, and of dialogue pieces which are snappy to the point of freneticism, further reflected within many moments of hyper directorial overstylization. On many more occasions than I expected, storytelling gets to be overwrought to the point of doing away with subtlety, and when it's not doing that, it's annoying with all of its over-the-top fluff, until freneticism is abandoned a little too decidedly. More than it is aggravatingly break-neck, this fluff piece's pacing is uneven, thus, when it's not moving way too fast, it's moving way too slow, ultimately reaching a runtime of almost two hours that is hardly reasonable, with repetitious filler and expendable material that stiffen pacing enough without the application of that classic Coen thoughtfulness which simply doesn't belong in a film like this. The film can't seem to figure out if it wants to be pure fluff or something of another clever Coen opus, and such a lack of decisiveness makes the film neither lively enough to be fun nor restrained enough to be subtle, until the final product finds itself falling quite shy of potential, limited though it may be. Nonetheless, the film entertains enough to get by, with wit, color and, of course, style.

If nothing else, this film ranks among the strongest collaborations between the Coen brothers and Carter Burwell, whose score, ostensibly partly inspired by Sam Raimi's involvement in this project, adopts a certain Danny Elfman whimsy that, while not especially unique, adds to the colorful flavor of the film's artistic value. Roger Deakins' subtly tastefully toned and stylishly staged cinematography catches eyes, as surely as Burwell's efforts captures ears, though that might largely be because the handsome lensing falls over handsome art direction, courtesy of Leslie McDonald, who subtly, but distinctly captures the 1950s setting which do a lot to define this story. More defining of the film is themes on business sleaze and corruption, and a fluffy flavor, both of which are either too underplayed or overblown to make an especially intriguing story concept, but still stand firm enough to craft some interesting, if formulaic ideas that the Coens and Sam Raimi, as screenwriters, do justice about as much as they betray, with memorable highlights in colorful characterization, and thoroughly clever highlights in snappy dialogue and dynamic humor which ranges from subtly satirical to delightfully over-the-top and screwball. Likely because the Coens' and Raimi's tastes in comical and structural subtlety clash, the film is often either obnoxious or underwhelming with its color, of which there is enough for the script to stand as generally solid, sold by the Coens' direction, perhaps too much so. The Coens go all-out in beating you over the head with the subtlety lapses, and blanding things up with momentum lapses, but at the same time, they go all-out in selling the many highlights in fluff as entertaining, partly by working well with talented performers, as usual. Granted, more than a few performances are a little over-the-top, but just about everyone shines with charm, alone, with Jennifer Jason Leigh being impressively committed in her delivery of admittedly obnoxious rapid-fire dialogue, while Paul Newman proves to be effective as a generic sleaze, and leading man Tim Robbins proves to be particularly charming as an everyman audience avatar, distinguished by some somewhat dramatic layering that Robbins nails with a surprising amount of subtlety. Like I said, the film has difficulty in gaining a grip on its style, but it never lets entertainment value slips too far from its fingers, standing firm enough throughout the final product's course to craft a fair opus, in spite of its messiness.

Overall, there are formulaic elements to the telling of a thin and improbable story concept, in addition to many an obnoxiously over-the-top and many a blandly draggy momentum, thus, the final product falls as pretty underwhelming, but not to where whimsical scoring, immersive art direction, generally sharply colorful writing and direction, and charming performances fail to carry "The Hudsucker Proxy" as a somewhat forgettable, but nonetheless adequately lively satire on the sleaze of company business.

2.5/5 - Fair
½ May 25, 2014
It's not often you get a film where almost all the characters annoy you. This has to be one of the Coen brothers worst films.
½ May 21, 2014
overacting at its absolute worst
May 12, 2014
It is certainly a four star production considering the high class performances of the actors (Leigh, Robbins, and Newman) that perfectly recall movie mavericks such as Rosalind Russell and Jimmy Stewart. One of my favourite from the Coen Bros.
May 10, 2014
A film where every scene is a microcosm according to a success-failure-success-recipe.
April 30, 2014
A bizarre misfire, The Hudsucker Proxy was a movie that I wanted to like a lot because I like the Coen Brothers, I like Tim Robbins, and I like hula hoops, but overall this movie is just trying to be quirky for the sake of being quirky.
April 16, 2014
The Coen Brothers are wonderfully insane. This is their fictional account of the creation of the "Hula Hoop" (you know...for kids!) and their tribute to the fast-talking comedies of the 1940s. Beyond the sharp script (also written with the fantastic Sam Raimi) and direction of the Coens, it has great costume design, a fantastic cast, and is really one of their best films...You know...for kids! Tim Robbins and Paul Newman are as fantastic as ever, and Jennifer Jason Leigh is quite good in the sort of Katharine Hepburn role. It is just a fun film with lots of laughs and a feel good tone.
March 20, 2014
When the Coen Brothers do comedy, they don't just sit there and hope to write good jokes. They go all out, fit with winking black humor, loony visual cues, and zippy physical comedy that moves faster than a hot bullet. "The Hudsucker Proxy", which is most likely their least remembered project in their lengthy filmography, proves that, even without critical acclaim or a cult fan base on its side, the Coen Brothers, on their worst day, are better than most.
Tim Robbins portrays Norville Barnes, a chipper yet blissfully unaware man from Indiana who dreams to make it big in the city. Lucky for him, he lands a mailing job at the massive Hudsucker Industries, which stretches 45 stories and boasts gigantic economic power. Barnes may not be the brightest bulb in the ceiling, but he does have an idea for a new children's toy, and he believes that if he presents it to executive Sidney J. Mussberger (Paul Newman), he could make it big.
Just as Barnes is hired, company president Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) dramatically commits suicide (during a meeting on the 44th floor, he runs down the board room table, jumps through the window, and lands with a cringeworthy splat on the pavement), so literally, Barnes is going up just as Hudsucker is going down. Desperate to head the company, Mussberger realizes that, if he hires an incompetent individual for Hudsucker's old job, it will devalue the stock, and therefore, the company will be forced to hire him to pick up the pieces.
When Barnes finally does get the chance to show his idea to Mussberger, the recipe for disaster begins and Barnes' luck goes from deliriously fantastic to drearily low.
Looking towards the screwball comedy mastery of Preston Sturges and Frank Capra, "The Hudsucker Proxy" takes the formula of the classic genre and scrambles it up into something that can only be described as Coen-esque, if that's even a thing. The film moves at such a breakneck speed that by the time it all slows down, we can't help but want to gasp for air.
The film is bent towards the satirical side of things, set with massively mounted art-deco design and a city so exaggerated that it stinks with the glittery fakery of a Rogers and Astaire vehicle. All of the characters are written in the spirit of a cartoon, with executives chewing on fat cigars, to the heroine spitting out witty lines that seem to mimic Katharine Hepburn in "Bringing Up Baby", if she were on acid.
The ensemble embodies the loopy parts given to them - Jennifer Jason Leigh especially has her part nailed, a Rosalind Russell inspired reporter that wins the heart of Barnes.
Modern screwball comedies never seem to work, but "The Hudsucker Proxy" is something special. While in its roots, it's a stunning homage, it manages to have a sort of punch in the gut mindset that keeps everything fittingly loopy.
February 4, 2014
In terms of its eye-popping visuals, witty banter and Tim Robbins's aw-shucks performance, this is my pick for the most delightful of all the Coens' films.
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