Fantastic Fest welcomed back festival alumnus writer/director Jim Hosking for his second feature film, An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn. Fantastic Fest ran Sept 20-27, in Austin, Texas, at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater – South Lamar. It bills itself as the largest genre film festival in the country showing horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and unusual films that don’t necessarily fit into any genre.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn fits into that last category. Jim Hosking’s first feature – The Greasy Strangler — must have been excellent because he succeeded in recruiting an epic cast of comedy actors for this feature.
This takes nothing away from Hoskins writing, but it would have been hard not to make a hilarious movie with this cast.
Aubrey Plaza, April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, plays the heroine, Lulu Danger. Craig Robinson, Darryl Philbin on The Office, plays Beverly Luff Linn. Matt Berry, that obnoxious boss on The IT Crowd, brings Beverly’s manager and companion to life.
Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Legion (TV Series)), plays Lulu’s boyfriend Colin. When he appeared on screen I immediately thought of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men.
Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Milk), looking like a young, intense Jack Black, plays her husband, Shane Danger, the manager of a cappuccino shop. Hirsch plays the egotistical small-time manager with amazing precision. I’m sure I worked for him once or twice in my teens.
Lulu’s life leaves something to be desired. She has just been fired from her job at the cappuccino shop by her husband. Bored at home and with her life, she thinks Shane doesn’t make enough money. Then she sees an ad on TV for a show at the local hotel – “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn For One Magical Night Only”. Beverly was her college professor and first love. She has hope. Yes, you may think that Beverly is not a man’s name. It’s one of the running gags.
Meanwhile, Shane decides to rob Lulu’s adopted brother to solve his money problems. This activity creates a heist film feel. Her brother calls in the hit-man, Colin.
See, it’s a rom-com!
When the story gets rolling, it centers on the hotel. This gave it a Wes Anderson feel.
Director Hosking created an intriguing and funny world, where every character was interesting and memorable. Even the bartender, the desk clerk, the DJ, and the hotel manager were well crafted. There were no throwaway performances.
Not all the humor is sophisticated. There is an R-rated sight gag, several fart jokes, and Robinson’s character communicates primarily with grunts and groans. I’m sure at some point during his childhood Hosking was frightened by a Three Stooges short. The evidence is here.
The film is funny, manages to satire multiple genres, and most important, you end up caring about what happens to Lulu.
I won’t give away whether she returns to her husband, runs off with the hitman, or reunites with Beverly. You’ll have to find out for yourself. To convince yourself that this film is as funny, unconventional, and magical as I say it is, check out its Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram site, or the trailer below. It opens in theaters, on demand and in digital on October 19.