Love is weird. Like really weird.
Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) is stuck in an unsatisfying and unloving marriage to Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch), a guy who’s on the verge of going broke and begins robbing her brother. But her life changes a bit when she notices that a former friend of her past, lounge singer Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson), is in town and performing. Absolutely excited, Lulu makes plans to surprise him at his show and see if she can change her future. Meanwhile, a local grifter of sorts, Colin Keith Threadener (Jemaine Clement), who is supposed to be getting money back from Shane Danger, instead falls in love with Lulu and joins her on this trip, where they both await Bevery Luff Linn. Together, however, the two realize that maybe their future is already here with them and not in the form of some lounge-singer.
An Evening With Beverly Luff Lin isn’t the Greasy Strangler and honestly, I don’t think I could have handled another Greasy Strangler. While I didn’t have too many problems with that movie, it’s excessive surrealism, raunch, and ridiculous randomness is something that’s hard to take in, time and time again. But thankfully, Beverly Luff Lin isn’t like that; it’s still random, a little surreal, definitely weird, and full of so much lunacy, but it’s also backed by a story, characters, and believe it or not, heart.
In a way, and as much as I’ll probably get flak for saying this, but Beverly Luff Linn is much like the movies Jared Hess was making before he lost all control with Gentleman Broncos. Small, weird, quirky, but genuinely heartfelt and sweet tales of the outsiders of society that we usually don’t get movies about, was what Hess seemed to excel in and you can tell that a lot of what co-writer/director Jim Hosking does is that, other than adore being weird whenever he wants, is actually giving us a look inside some of these very off-beat and off-kilter characters. But for some reason, as strange as they get, they still feel like compelling characters to get behind and not just a speaking-device that Hosking uses to have say and do his weird things.
Which, having seen the Greasy Strangler, is surprising. But it’s the nice kind of surprise.
For one, because Beverly Luff Linn is definitely a funny movie, just as you’d expect, but there are these tiny, endearing moments of genuine love that surprisingly touched me. And it’s an odd trick to pull off where, once second, you have a guy running around in an obviously-fake blonde-wig shouting “No Dancing!”, to then, moments later, having a character passionately remember a tragic love-affair from the past. Most movies can’t really make that transition, but somehow, Beverly Luff Linn does and it shows that Hosking clearly wants to be more than just a cult-followed director.
But I guess it makes sense that Hosking would take everything a little more seriously this time around, what with the solid ensemble on-board. Aubrey Plaza, as per usual, is great and feels perfectly fitting for this crazy and weird world Hosking has created, but she too always feels grounded in an honest reality. Same goes Jemaine Clement’s Colin Keith, who is another guy that seems perfectly suited for this wacky and weird world that Hosking has created, yet still feels like a person. Together, they have a magically beautiful and surprisingly sweet bit of chemistry that transcends beyond the eeriness of everything else that goes on around them and keeps this thing grounded.
But surprisingly, it’s Craig Robinson who really stole the show for me as the eponymous Beverly Luff Linn. Really, all Robinson does here is grunt, but it’s some of the funniest and most meaningful grunting since Timothy Spall’s Mr. Turner. Every time that you think that the running-gag is going to old and boring, guess what? It continues to get better and much sillier, somehow. Hosking writes a lot of comedy like this throughout the whole movie where he builds a joke up, then side-steps a bit to where it’s subversive and odd enough, to make you feel as if you’ve never heard it before.
Because chances are, you haven’t. How could you?
Consensus: For all of its ridiculous and random shenanigans, An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn benefits from not just being hilarious when it shouldn’t be, but actually having a genuine love for its characters and the weird world that they inhabit.
8 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Park Pictures