Hudsucker Proxy [1994]

The Coen brothers (Raising Arizona, Fargo) have become the most consistently original filmmakers in the land. In a salute/reworking of the fast-talking comedies of the '40s, we follow Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) and his amazing rise to the top. But he's only a puppet for the evil Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman), who wants the company for himself. The Coens' design is the real star, and their first big-budget film will stimulate movie fans. The story weakens in the middle, but you will find very few films that move with this much imagination. As a Kate Hepburn hybrid, Jennifer Jason Leigh is wonderful in an almost unplayable role. The less you know about the film, the better it plays, so just think of it as How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying mixed with Brazil and every journalistic drama made before 1960. Cowritten by Sam Raimi. --Doug Thomas

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