Hudsucker Revisited

Over the weekend, I had a chance to rewatch the Hudsucker Proxy, years after last time I saw it. It had always stayed in my head as a favorite Coen Bros movie, and I found out some friends hadn’t seen it, which gave me a perfect excuse to rewatch. I was so happy to see my memories of the film really held up, and I enjoyed it just as much now as I did back then.

Like many Coen Bros comedies, it’s got this perfect blend of absurdism, humor, and character development that really scratches an itch for me that few other movies can. With many of their films, it feels to me like they take a well established movie genre and give it their own spin. O Brother Where Art Thou is their take on a movie musical, for example. Hudsucker is their spin on classic screwball comedies. It takes elements of His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the movie, Tim Robbins stars as an aspiring business executive who somehow finds himself whisked from the depths of the mail room to top level of Hudsucker Industry when he’s abruptly appointed to be the new president. (Upon the last president’s death, the board decided to try to drive the stock price into the ground so that they could use some financial shenanigans to make a killing of a profit. Robbins was literally the worst person they could they think of to run the company.) Naturally, Robbins turns out to be a bit more than they expected. Hilarity ensues.

Robbins plays his part perfectly, as does Jennifer Jason Leigh, who portrays a hardnosed reporter focused on finding the real truth behind Robbins. (Paul Newman and Bruce Campbell also have roles, and Sam Raimi co-wrote the script with the Coens.) There’s really not much to dislike about the movie. Perhaps it drags just a bit in the middle, but the beginning and ending are strong enough to make that irrelevant, and I’m not sure if it dragged only because it was my fourth or fifth time rewatching it.

If you’ve never seen the movie (or it’s been a while since you have), then I definitely recommend giving it a shot. It’s PG and safe for just about anyone, though there are some suicide themes that might be off-putting for some. 9/10. Great stuff.

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