review for The Hudsucker Proxy on AllMovie

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
by Keith Phipps review

The biggest, busiest film the Coen brothers had created at the time, The Hudsucker Proxy found the team working with their largest budget and most oversized canvas to date, and meeting with an indifference they couldn't have anticipated. Past detractors had dismissed Coen efforts like Blood Simple and Miller's Crossing as exercises in pastiche, synthesizing found elements into a new contraption. Hudsucker Proxy fits firmly in that mold, but such charges matter only if you view them as flaws. Those who see matters otherwise should find Hudsucker thrilling through and through. Though clearly delighted with a budget to accommodate their wildest visual notions, the Coens nonetheless never let their vision get ahead of them, incorporating it all into re-creating a corporate America in the grips of the postwar economic boom, at once giddy and insecure with newfound prosperity. Into this world, they drop a sly reworking of Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and if their New York has an even meaner edge to it than Capra's, the film still ends up subscribing to the same endorsement of common decency and critique of urban elitism (with more than a few digs at heartless capitalism thrown in for good measure). Being a Coen film, decency comes embodied by a big lug, played by Tim Robbins, whose own obvious intelligence has never prohibited him from excelling at playing thick-skulled protagonists. He's nicely matched by Jennifer Jason Leigh as a jaded reporter, whose ability to convey real humanity beneath layers of mannerisms may make her the ideal Coen heroine.