Guileless but ambitious hick Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) comes to the big city to make his fortune, and gets a job in the mailroom of Hudsucker Industries. When CEO Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) commits suicide, the Board of Directors--led by ruthless Sidney J. Mussberger (Paul
Newman)--decides to make a killing by installing an idiot in his place, then taking advantage of lowered stock price. Barnes is the unwitting idiot, Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) the fast-talking, crackerjack columnist who lies her way into his life, hoping to get the big scoop, but falls in
love instead. When Barnes' tenure proves a surprise success, Mussberger will stop at nothing to get rid of him.
Beautifully designed and costumed, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is a curiously arid movie, clever without being witty. One could blame the performances, which are almost all too broad, but the real trouble lies elsewhere: the Coens are often accused of heartlessness, and HUDSUCKER is the proof. It is,
however, an impressive technical achievement--the period New York sets are to die for--and its version of the invention of the hula-hoop is a comic highlight. leave a comment
A lavish parody of/homage to Hollywood big business comedies, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY is gorgeous but lifeless, a very small joke writ very large by the talented but perversely insular Coen brothers.