Does Hail, Caesar! live up to the quality of film that we know Joel and Ethan Coen can produce? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. The odd humor that we love is present, the off-kilter characters are on full display, and the setting is amazing, but the story doesn't present itself in a way that is fully formed, and ends up leaving you asking: "Is it that really the end?"
The humor that this movie presents is both unexpected and hilarious! In true Coen Brothers fashion, you can expect to laugh quite often, and at some very unexpected things. There is one specific scene about 3/4 of the way through the film that was so unbelievable that you couldn't help but laugh out loud. From a director trying to deal with an actor with a thick southern drawl, to a shocking scene involving a dog, a paddle-boat, and Channing Tatum; the humor is top notch throughout the entirety of the film.
The characters and setting in this movie is everything you'd want from 1950's Hollywood! With scenes reminiscent of Footlight Parade, Singing in The Rain, and many 50's westerns; you actually feel as if you are watching films from a different time! Clooney was great as the stereotypical leading man who will go along with whatever someone in charge of him says, Johansson was perfect as the hollywood starlet who wasn't as innocent as she seemed, but the standout was Alden Ehrenreich as the western star turned leading man. Ehrenreich's performance as Hobie Doyle showed a good, honest man in an industry filled with liars.
The one piece that this film fails to deliver is a fully formed story. Each character has their own arc, but it feels more like an amalgamation of many movies that were stitched together, haphazardly, by Josh Brolin's character. Characters that had so much promise are just written away, and the ending comes out of nowhere, and leaves everyone in the same state they were when the film started.
Hail, Caesar! had a lot of promise, but it was lost when the story couldn't pull itself together. Jokes I was quoting on the ride home, organic characters that felt like they were ripped right out of a studio backlot, and scenes that were so out of nowhere that you couldn't help but laugh couldn't save it from a story that just didn't go anywhere. I had hoped for this to be another Fargo or The Big Lebowski, but in the end, it had more in common with Burn After Reading.