The Hudsucker Proxy
THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (PG)
D: Joel Coen
Warner Bros./Polygram/Working Title/Silver Pictures (Ethan Coen)
W: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen & Sam Raimi
DP: Roger Deakins
Ed: Thom Noble
Mus: Carter Burwell
PD: Dennis Gassner
Cos: Richard Hornung
Tim Robbins (Norville Barnes), Paul Newman (Sidney J. Mussburger), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Amy Archer), Charles Durning (Waring Hudsucker), John Mahoney (Chief), Jim True (Buzz), Bruce Campbell (Smitty)
The Coens' take on screwball comedies of the 1940's isn't nearly as good as their best works (Fargo, Raising Arizona, No Country For Old Men) but is much easier to watch than some of their other works.
Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) moves to the big city from a hayseed Indiana town and takes a position in the stockroom at the very moment the company chairman takes his own life. Barnes is almost immediately promoted to the newly vacant position, a hiring plotted by vice chairman Sidney Mussburger (Paul Newman), whose thinking is that with an idiot pawn in charge, the stock will plummet and he himself can take over.
Mussburger can't take into account two factors however; the first being hard-bitten, fast-talking reporter Amy Archer (Leigh) smelling a rat and going undercover as Norville's secretary; and the other being that Norville's idiocy actually gives birth to a hugely successful invention.
Perhaps it's too quirky for some, but the film is incredibly funny, very well executed and has some great performances (Jennifer Jason Leigh possibly steals the entire film), as well as great cinematography and production design.