Lights. Camera. Abduction. Rescue. Credits. Hail, Caesar! was a Coen brothers comedy with a lot of dialogue and laugh-out-loud moments that follow you out of the theater.
My expectations going to into the movie were that it was to be a light comedy with a musical twist. I was wrong. I’ve never seen a Coen brothers film until now.
The film is shot over a two-day span following Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) run his movie studio dealing with the press, his actors, writers, and directors, and pretty soon into the movie, his number one star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is drugged on set and taken for ransom.
Mannix then spends the rest of the film running around the studios trying to make ends meet and get Whitlock without raising suspicion in the tabloids. This is where we meet characters like Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum), Deanna Moran (Scarlett Johansson), and Joe Silverman (Jonah Hill), who were all top-billed in the cast but had miniscule roles in the film itself.
However, Alden Ehrenreich, almost a no-name actor compared to some cameos in the movie, did an outstanding job. He plays Hobie Doyle, a rising star known for doing only westerns and he gets sucked into this bigger and more British production, courtesy of Mannix himself.
There were two musical numbers in the whole thing, “No Dames” sang by Tatum and a small guitar solo by Ehrenreich, and for not being a musical, these numbers were well-placed in the movie and well-done from the choreography to the lyrics.
The only thing that could have been different was the length of certain scenes. There was important dialogue and there was comedic dialogue and you really have to pay attention to both to get the full effect. No joke is going to be funny unless you can sit down and listen for the punchline and no plot is going to thicken unless you listen. It’s not a comedy you can sit down and laugh at, it’s one you appreciate after it’s over.