The Hudsucker Proxy was completely unknown to me, before I started going into the Coen Brothers filmography, which gets better each time I see one (Hudsucker was my 5th Coen film). I had no knowledge of the movie before going into the opening credits. My only knowledge was that of Tim Robbins (who I like more and more) holding what seemed to be a circle (AKA, the poster).
If you didn’t know, the story revolves around Hudsucker Industries when their founder, CEO, and President meets his untimely demise. Enter Robbins character, Norville Barnes, fresh out of his small town, and entering NYC for the first time. He somehow ends up in the office of Hudsucker’s righthand man, Mussberger (Paul Newman), and ends up becoming the new president. Unfortunately the title comes only at his being a first class idiot, and who is easily controlled. Why do this? For the company’s stock to plummet, enabling the board to buy more when they become available on the first day of the new year. What Mussberger and the board didn’t know is that Barnes had a few ideas up his sleeve. Including his idea for a round circle to swing around your hips (you know…for the kids!). Of course, his life over the course of the movie has some trouble, especially with the fast talking lady reporter in his life (Jennifer Jason Leigh). It all reaches a tipping point in the final act, with some unlikely and highly improbable help.
To me, it seems as if the movie was a step in the direction of what we think of a Coen Brothers film. Was it as good as their newer stuff? Heck no. Is this a severely underrated movie? Heck to the yes. There are somethings in this alternate Coen universe that I could live without (Leigh’s best “His Girl Friday” impersonation for one), but I keep wanting to find out what happens. It was very entertaining, which isn’t why we watch movies in the first place? I’m very surprised I hadn’t heard about Hudsucker sooner. Don’t let this one slide under your radar.