Jim Hosking’s feature debut The Greasy Strangler took cult cinema by storm a couple of years ago. For many here at STARBURST, it was the film of the year and has been endlessly quoted ever since. How, then, could he follow up such a delightfully off-the-wall treat? Very easily, it seems.
Lulu (the ever-watchable Plaza), fired by her husband Shane (Hirsch) from his coffee shop, drops the bombshell that her brother Adjay (the unforgettable Sam Dissanayake) has a bigger cash box than he has, Shane’s petty jealousy and greed force him to steal it. With the help of the two waste of space but easily manipulated employees (Sky Elobar and Zach Cherry), he gets the cash. Adjay, however, takes the services of useless hitman Colin (Clement) to retrieve it. Unfortunately for all, Lulu kidnaps Colin and takes him on a road trip to see a show starring someone from Lulu’s past. But what will An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn - For One Magical Night Only entail?
One thing’s for sure, it’s a memorable and surprising event. As we’re taken through an outlandish series of situations as Lulu attempts to get close to Beverly (Robinson, who’s less annoying here as he usually is). The only problem is Beverly’s overly protective partner Rodney (Berry) stands her way.
Hosking creates a world of grotesque, enigmatic characters who are both impenetrable but endearing. Like the people eagerly awaiting the magical evening with the grunting Luff Linn, we’re swept along with the bizarreness of the situation as the interwoven strands of various oblique love stories are brought together.
Although boasting a higher profile cast than his earlier film, Hosking coaxes the same stilted, amateurish quality from the characters. It’s a brave choice that pays dividends, particularly for fans of Flight of the Conchords’ Clement (in a role that rivals Eagle vs Shark in wonderful awkwardness) and the mesmerising Plaza. Jokes (or, indeed, non-jokes) are pushed to breaking point and moments are often seemingly pointless, but in the end, it’s rather a sweet affair that rewards those with the right frame of mind.
There are going to be plenty of people who just won’t get Beverly Luff Linn, but fans of offbeat humour and absurdist surreal performances will lap it up. You’ll end up wanting to watch it straight after to catch all the gags you missed the first time.
If The Greasy Stranger was Hosking channelling early-seventies John Waters, Beverly Luff Linn sees him veer into ‘David Lynch if he had directed Fargo’ mode. The fact he does it without becoming derivative is his talent and what makes it so damn brilliant.
AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JIM HOSKING / SCREENPLAY: JIM HOSKING, DAVID WIKE / STARRING: AUBREY PLAZA, JEMAINE CLEMENT, CRAIG ROBINSON, EMILE HIRSCH, MATT BERRY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW