The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

I never thought making the Hula Hoop was such a dangerous job.

This film follows a schmuck (Tim Robbins) who falls into good — or bad? — luck when he becomes the CEO of a successful business. The evil Sidney J. Mussberger (Paul Newman) chooses Barnes so he and the other board directors can make a fortune on the falling stock price. Meanwhile, reporter Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) befriends Norville in hopes of landing a big scoop.

This film is written and directed by my favorites, The Coen Brothers, and just like any other film they have ever made, yes this one is good too.

I liked how the whole film looked. It reminded me of those old screwball comedies of the 1930’s and 40’s. The production is just beautiful, with a lot of the settings look like they came right out of an old-time photo, or a museum. Literally, you will be looking at this film forever, and the look and style really is, something to die for.

That’s where the major problem lies. We are so interested, and in love with these sets, that they actually up-stage the characters. The film has some funny moments, that are at times dark, but never too funny, nor emotionally resonant. I couldn’t find the main message, or heart behind all this material, and I think that’s the major problem when you got a film that has so much to look at, but nothing else to show for it. In all honesty I don’t even think the story took itself seriously either. The characters are all treated as satire, and not given anything really serious.

Tim Robbins was very good in this lead role as this lovable loser, that is given this big job, as a joke, and then totally changes everything. Jennifer Jason Leigh was pretty funny with her old-style New York accent, and she brings a lot of laughs, even though her and Robbins don’t have the best chemistry. Also, let’s not forget to mention that Paul Newman does a great job, as usual, as the villain, in a way, but the guy was never too menacing to the point of where I despised his every move.

Consensus: It’s beautiful to look at, and entertaining, but overall not that much heart, and the film doesn’t take itself seriously, so therefore we can’t either.



  1. I agree, it’s a strange movie with little substance and a lot of style. Not one you need to own, but definitely worth a look if your a fan of the Coen Brothers.

  2. This is one of those Coen Bros. movies that I love, that is rarely mentioned. I love how that recreate the invention of the hula hoop, and the characters are outrageous. I still have it on VHS.

  3. I really like this film, for the reasons you’ve mostly listed above. Yes, it’s a screwball comedy but it’s also a tribute to that time too; Jennifer Jason Leigh riffs on any number of fast-talkin’ career gals of the time, and then you have the Capra-style ending. Sure, there are bits I could do without, but especially in their early work there are ALWAYS bits I’d leave out of a Coens movie. No matter. The characters are of little consequence, it’s the feel of the movie that is important here.

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