Making the Grades
When writing a review column that focuses on telling people, especially parents, what elements in a current movie may have positive or negative effects on their children, you are often hard pressed to fit a movie like The Hudsucker Proxy into a category at all. Yet it attempts to tell a story that might have some attraction for teens, but will be as boring as watching grass grow for the under 12 group.
This is a movie based on many of the popular screwball comedies that originated in the 1930's. A "screwball comedy" is packed full of wisecracking dialogue, frenzied action, and usually has opulent sets and production design to make up the effect. Ethan and Joel Coen, the two young brothers that produced and directed this movie, thrive on recreating earlier film styles into new titles.
Hudsucker tells the fictitious tale of the invention of the Hula-Hoop by a bright young mailroom clerk that works for a monstrous bureaucracy of which we are not sure what they produce. Two people wind up jumping out of windows in this film, but otherwise there is not much violence, little sexual content (a passionate kiss, and a short dream sequence where a girl dances around in a black item of some sort), and a few mild profanities. There also isn't much plot, story, or any other reasons to take two hours to watch this movie.
What Hudsucker Proxy does have is stunning visual sets, all based on a 1930's Art Deco style. As wonderful as the images are, after thirty minutes, they become boring and you start yearning for more story and less stupidity. The video box says the movie follows a Frank Capra style. Capra was known for movies that had a strong overall message. I kept waiting for the message in Hudsucker, and I'm still waiting. Overall, The Hudsucker Proxy provides a quick feast for the eyes and a famine for the brain.