Hail Caesar

Jays Rating:

Director: /

Joel and Ethan Coen write and direct a musical comedy that takes place during the golden years of Hollywood in the movie, Hail Caesar. It’s the early 1950’s and movie studios basically own and protect their stars. Capital Studio has Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) as their “fixer” to look after the studio’s interests – which means their stars. One day the leading actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) of the upcoming film Hail Caesar, is kidnapped by a group of communist writers. (I know it sounds really stupid and it is.) While Mannix is tracking down Baird Whitlock he is also putting out other fires for the studio. He finds out star Deeana Morin (Scarlett Johansson) is pregnant out of wedlock, so he instructs her to adopt her own baby. (Actually, that’s quite ingenious.) He also has to deal with twin gossip columnists, Thora Thacker and Thessaly Thacker (Tilda Swinton) who try to trap Mannix into telling them the studio’s darkest secrets. Other subplots include director Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) trying to teach a singing cowboy how to recite his lines, scenes with star Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) as a singing and dancing sailor and a few quick scenes with an editor who has a bad smoking habit named C.C. Calhoun (Frances McDormand). This film has all of the ingredients for a great film: top notch performers, great writers and directors, but somehow it misses on several levels. For example, there are so many sub-plots it’s easy to lose interest in many of them and they don’t move the story ahead. Also, the really big stars only show up in one or two scenes which made me think they are only included to pull in audience numbers. Jonah Hill was only on screen about two minutes. Some scenes are genuinely funny, but they drag on for so long the humor is just lost. This isn’t a terrible film but it’s frustrating and I’m giving it a C- rating.