SUNDANCE: An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn Directed by Jim Hosking
Starring Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, Emile Hirsch and Jemaine Clement
Published Jan 25, 2018When Napoleon Dynamite first came out in 2005, the film was understandably beloved for its off-kilter aesthetics and strange, strained dialogue. It didn't matter that the project was bad by traditional standards — in its own self-contained world, it made perfect sense.
But now we have to ask ourselves if the movie was really worth it, considering the detrimental toll its influence has taken on pop culture. In the 13 years since, we've been subjected to countless shitty knockoffs involving entirely unbelievable misfits and their increasingly grating quirks.
After last year's cult hit The Greasy Strangler, director Jim Hosking has unfortunately thrown his hat into the ring as the next guy to make a jarring and frustrating quirk comedy. An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn doesn't feel like a Napoleon rip-off so much as it feels like one of Jared Hess's later works that you see posters for but never actually see.
The film stars Aubrey Plaza as Lulu Danger — essentially the same character we've seen her play countless times. Entitled, grumpy and mean, she walks all over her husband Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch, somehow evoking an even broader Jack Black) after he fires her from the donut shop where they were both working. He goes on to steal money from her brother, which she then swipes with the help of Colin Keith Threadener (Jemaine Clement, also playing the same character he always plays in these kinds of movies). They decide to hide out at a hotel, but she has ulterior motives — magician Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson, who literally grunts for 90 percent of his dialogue) is set to perform, and he's her long lost lover.
Are you confused? We are too. In fact, An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is so convoluted and dumb that its tough to summarize. While you're watching it, the film's plot feels non-existent and its "jokes" (or in place of jokes, puffy 1980s track jackets) are few and far between. Characters call each other fat, say the word "poop" and occasionally have sex with one another. It's confusing, uninspiring and painfully dumb.
Perhaps Hosking is trying to troll his audience with a film that's difficult to watch and incredibly stupid. Even in that sense, he's failed. Trolling can be a lot of things, most of which are bad, but trolling is never this boring. Do yourself a favour and spend an evening with literally anyone else. (Park Pictures)