AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN
Directed by: Jim Hosking
Written by: Jim Hosking and David Wike
Featuring: Aubrey Plaza, Emile Hirsch, Jemaine Clement, Craig Robinson, Mat Berry, Zach Cherry, Michael D. Cohen
Lulu Danger’s dull job and listless marriage take a downward turn, when her boss, also her erratic husband, Shane, lays her off to cut costs. At the same time, she lets slip that uncle Adjay has saved up money and her feckless spouse decides on robbery. Furthermore, Beverly Luff Linn is in town for a show for one magical night, and he is a man with whom she shares a mysterious past.
From the man you brought you The Greasy Strangler, which you either hated or loved apparently, [I have not seen it], here is another equally divisive film.
Right from the get-go we have to An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is going to make some people very angry, very bored and they will hate it. I understand why that would be because Jim Hosking’s film is most definitely a specific taste, and I would say after ten minutes you are either going to continue watching or turn it off and get on with something else.
The story is almost inconsequential and slight, but to Hoskings and writer David Wike’s credit there is a story that progresses and if you invest you do want to see what happens.
Overall though An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is an absurdist comedy first and foremost. Everything you see on the screen is a deliberate, conscious effort to deconstruct acting and filmmaking. Lines by talented actors are delivered stilted with no nuance, background characters deliver their lines out of context, bellowing for instance, grimacing, it is all for want of a better word ‘weird’. But, and here is the rub, it does drag you in, some styles like this can push the viewer away, and I will admit I can be repelled by this type of film, but Hosking had enough film-making skill and a good enough cast to draw me in.
One look at the top-billing and anyone with an average film knowledge would know what they were in for. Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement were made for this film and just turned up on the first day of filming without being asked, Matt Berry, again perfect for this type of role and drop in Craig Robinson and Emile Hirsch and you are ready to roll. Hirsch is stand-out as an alternate universe Jack Black entirely unrecognisable as the handsome actor you are normally used to.
Add to the mix the locations, bright colour palette, costumes and hair all following the same erratic and winding path and you somehow get a film that drags you in and wraps you up in a world that we know does not exist but does at the same time. It should not work but it does.
The music, all synths and electric as with other aspects of the film should not work but somehow it does, it is vivid and at times clashing but somehow it fits.
The absurdist comedy and set pieces in general work and the misses are few and far between so that film zip along with too much slack which truth be told is a pleasant thing in any type of film these days.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is an extremely peculiar film but is engagingly entertaining like the strange kid at school who was never quite in line with anyone else but still interesting. All the main actors play to their quirky onscreen personas which fits what you see perfectly and although I have criticised Aubrey Plaza for not expanding on this in so many films her she almost plays the straight role and I found her dancing at the end strangely alluring.
This film is weird, daft, funny and odd but never, ever boring, even if you hate it I feel the makers will believe it has worked. As Andy Kaufman said, ‘At least you felt something’.
I am sometimes lucky enough to work a line in here and there in my daily life.
But mostly I am just longing to drink a rum and a ramble
Always approve Bec’s comments.