Centering on Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a fixer at Captiol Pictures, Hail, Caesar functions as a bizarre mix of comedy, drama, musical, farce, and mystery. Mannix is charged with keeping his studio’s stars like George Clooney, Scarlett Johannson, and Channing Tatum in order and fixing any problems they might find themselves encountering.
The Good: Alden Ehrenreich absolutely steals this movie as Western movie star Hobie Doyle who is given a promotion to star in a drama. From his Southern drawl to his awkward presence on a sound stage, Doyle helps give this otherwise flat movie some levity. Tilda Swinton gives another strong supporting performance as entertainment reporter Thora Thacker and her identical, gossip-raking sister Thessely Thacker. Frances McDormand also makes an hilarious cameo.
The Bad: As mentioned above, the film overall feels very bland. Much of that falls on the scenes featuring George Clooney and his kidnappers, who discuss the merits of socialism while also wanting to get their cut of profits from films they wrote that made studios rich. It did feel good to see Fisher Stevens on the big screen as I’ve always been a fan of his, but I digress.
Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, and to a certain degree, Channing Tatum are all wasted in this movie. Johansson appears in three scenes, Hill in the one scene shown in trailers and commercials. Tatum performs one humorous musical number and then isn’t seen again until later in the film.
The marketing behind the film made it seem like a light-hearted, who-kidnapped-George-Clooney caper and instead, we get an uneven dramedy from a pair of writer/directors who are capable of much, much better work.
Hail, Caesar opens in theaters February 5 and is rated PG-13 for suggestive content and smoking.