Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, Jemaine Clement, Emile Hirsch, and Matt Berry star in a weird movie of a single night show.
Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) is a waitress for her husband, Shane (Emile Hirsch). Lulu sees an ad for a performance by Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson), whose pictures she has in a drawer. Shane finds out that Lulu’s brother, Adjay (Sam Dissanayake), has a lot of money, so Shane and his employees Carl and Tyrone (Sky Elobar and Zachary Cherry) rob him. Adjay recognizes Shane and hires a drifter named Colin (Jemaine Clement) to get his money back. Colin pulls a gun on Shane, but Lulu takes Adjay’s money, as well as Colin, and heads to the hotel where Beverly Luff Linn is set to perform with his assistant, Rodney (Matt Berry). It’s going to be a magical night.
This was a very bizarre movie, to say the least. Everything in it, from the characters to the dialogue to the plot reveals, is done in an off-kilter style that seems to blend the works of Wes Anderson and David Lynch. If you have seen Director Jim Hosking’s previous film, The Greasy Strangler, then you already have an idea of how heavily stylized his work can be. It’s going to be off-putting to a lot of people, because at no point do you ever feel like anything happening is “real.” However, even if you don’t like it, it does make for a more inherently unique cinema experience, which is often preferable to being forgettably generic.
Unfortunately, once you move past the quirky nature of the film, the problem is that the movie doesn’t really have anything keeping you interested for the entire length of the show. While it is funny to hear some people deliver absurd lines in a monotone and overly serious voice, particularly Jemaine Clement and Aubrey Plaza, the absurdism is never quite enough to keep it sufficiently funny. The movie keeps having the performance by Beverly delayed over and over again in order to stretch the time out so that more of the characters can interact, but they just don’t create enough conflict to be either funny or compelling.
It doesn’t help that the film is so tight with any information about the characters, saving it up for the big reveal at the end. While the reveal is ultimately pretty solid, explaining who Beverly Luff Linn is and also giving many of our characters deeper motivations for their actions, the fact that we spend so much time with them without much of a background makes us care less about what they do. This isn’t a mystery where the audience should be trying to figure stuff out, because nothing about the ending actually can be derived from anything in the film. The climax of the film is almost a joke on the viewer, and while I admire someone for having the guts to try it, I think that it didn’t overcome the damage it did to the first two acts.
Overall, not a great movie, but it’s not a complete waste of time, either. I think if you’re a fan of weird stylistic cinema, you probably would like it.
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