Cinema’s most famous directorial bros are back at the helm with their love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood in quirky dramedy, Hail, Caesar! Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson, this glitzy return to 1950s Tinseltown has all the glamour but little soul.
Capitol Pictures film studio chief Eddie Mannix has got a lot on his plate. While being seduced for a top position by a big-time airplane company, the Hollywood ‘fixer’ has got to get his actors in line. If dealing with the potential PR disaster that is DeeAnna Moran’s (Johansson) bastard child, or famed director Laurence Laurentz’s leading man-less movie wasn’t enough, the studio’s biggest picture – Hail, Caesar! – is on the verge of disaster when its lead Baird Whitlock (Clooney) is kidnapped by a mysterious group calling themselves ‘The Future’.
It’s a flashy, shiny, sporadically entertaining picture, yet Hail, Caesar! just feels oh-so disappointingly pointless. The Coen’s mouth-watering back catalogue, from Burn After Reading to The Big Lebowski, emphasises their impressive comedic pedigree, yet this tedious outing – neither funny nor effortless – feels, looks, and glistens like everyone involved is in on the joke and the rest of us just haven’t been invited to the party.
Tatum’s much publicised dance sequence is a rare moment of captivating spectacle as he tap dances his way to a film stealing moment, while Alden Ehrenreich’s cowboy stereotype Hobie Doyle is a charming delight, yet there’s little else to get our movie juices flowing in-between. From the scandals, controversies and ever-changing notion of ‘celebrity’, nods, winks and soppy kisses are aimed towards old school Hollywood, yet this piece of try-hard art neither has the conviction, charm nor humour to make it anything other than a pretty looking bore.