The Coen brothers (Raising Arizona
) have become the most consistently original filmmakers in the land. In a salute/reworking of the fast-talking comedies of the 40s, we follow Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) and his amazing rise to the top. But he's only a puppet for the evil Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman), who wants the company for himself. The Coens' design is the real star and their first big-budget film will stimulate movie fans. The story weakens in the middle but you will find very few films that move with this much imagination. As a Kate Hepburn-hybrid, Jennifer Jason Leigh is wonderful in an almost unplayable role. The less you know about the film, the better it plays, so just think of it as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
mixed with Brazil
and every journalistic drama made before 1960. Sam Raimi co-wrote the screenplay. --Doug Thomas
Coen brothers comedy following the unlikely adventures of Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins), a college graduate who secures a job in the postroom at Hudsucker Industries just as its chairman is jumping fifty floors to his death. The chairman's scheming aide, Mussburger (Paul Newman), decides to hire Norville as chairman, presuming he is a dunce whose new position will frighten the stockholders into selling all their stock cheaply, thus allowing him to consolidate his hold on the company. A cynical journalist, Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh), masquerades as Norville's secretary in the hope of scooping a feature, but ends up falling for Norville, who in the meantime invents the hula-hoop, makes a fortune and revives the company's stock.