An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
Director Jim Hosking is a singular force. His first feature , The Greasy Strangler, was doused in anxious energy and grease, so much so that I desperately wanted to take a shower after watching it. It’s not that his films are disgusting (though they are), they just feel wrong. Intentionally and unabashedly wrong. Hosking’s second film is somehow more palatable, but still maintains the weirdo atmosphere.
Though the plot of An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is not especially necessary, I’ll give as brief a description as possible of the events within. Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) is working for her husband, Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch) at his coffee shop. When corporate insists that he downsize one of his staff, he swiftly lets go of Lulu. This leaves him with a bored wife at home and a failing coffee shop too. When Lulu starts begging for a new television, she mentions that her brother Adjay (Sam Dissanayake) would give her the money. Shane gets an idea. He gathers together his remaining coffee making staff (I hesitate to call these men baristas, though that would probably be accurate) to rob Adjay. Adjay knows his brother-in-law did the burglary, and then hires Colin (Jemaine Clement) to get his money back. Lulu sees Colin as her ticket out of her life with Shane, so they go together to a nearby hotel. It’s no coincidence that this hotel will soon be hosting a “magical night” with Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson). Beverly and his non-sexual partner Rodney Von Donkensteiger (Matt Berry) arrive at the hotel ahead of the “magical night” but Beverly’s poor health continues to delay the magic. This, in turn, delays Lulu’s return to Shane and Colin’s recapture of Adjay’s money.
This is all quite silly. In addition to the meandering plot and massive cast, Hosking sprinkles plenty of odd moments throughout the film. His characters are all preoccupied with food and there are long takes of watching them chow down, without dignity. It’s anti-humor at its finest, and aims to cause hilarious discomfort and skin crawling. Lulu loves clothes and is always going on about needing her outfits. Colin has his own issues, and develops a misguided crush on Lulu during their sequester. Perhaps one of the strangest choices in the film: Beverly does not speak, rather he gunts.
The bumping synthesizer score and 1970s aesthetic only add to the otherworldly feeling. None of these characters or situations exist in the real world, and the heightened style of the movie underlines this inaccurate experience. As Hosking isn’t making any major statements, I decline to refer to it as satire, but it feels just as surreal as one.
Somehow, all of this works. It’s not perfect, and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but oddballs who love weirdo cinema will probably get a kick out of An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn.