UK/US | 2018 | Directed by Jim Hosking
Logline: A dissatisfied and frustrated wife hitches up with a bumbling enforcer as she attempts to reconnect with a mysterious man from her past.
In what can only be described as a swerve off the highway melodrama, down the absurdist off-ramp into the suburb of what-the-vulgar-fuck, the agent provocateur responsible for The Greasy Strangler delivers his follow-up with complete disregard for any kind of commercial consumption. An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn, despite the soft fluffy title, is as ripe as a gamey mango, as lurid as a large cucumber dipped in mayo. Very much an acquired taste as delicate, as fish eggs washed down with a large lager.
Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) is unhappily married to douchebag café manager Shane (Emile Hirsch), who is brownnosing for a promotion. Lulu works as a waitress for Shane, but she’s fired when cuts are ordered from central office. She lets Shane know her uptight adopted brother Adjay (Sam Dissanayake) has a lot of stashed cash. Shane organises a burglary. Adjay meets Colin (Jermaine Clement), who offers to get his cash back. Lulu discovers a romance from her past is in town. There’ll be cocktails and yarns and heartache before bedtime. Also some coughing and flatulence. And maybe a little disco. Everything will come to head.
Imagine the surrealist, farcical humour of Comic Strip Presents, with added high cringe factor, infused with a kitsch, grotesque fashion aesthetic as the movie takes place in some kind of alternate 80s hell, and smothered with a perverse sense of lust and deception. An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn is a truly splendid nightmare for romantic misfits.
The cast is, well, exceptional. Jermaine Clement delivers a career performance, and Aubrey Plaza is perfect as Lulu, both glamorous and tragic. Also of note, Matt Berry as Rodney Von Donkenstieger, Beverly’s long-suffering, and equally tragic manager. Just as The Greasy Strangler was filled with all manner of greasy, unctuous freaks and geeks in small support roles, so is An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn. It’s a smorgasbord of bad dream elements as delicious as a tv dinner. Andrew Hung’s score adds milkshake harmony.
An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn is the kind of bad haircut, foul-mouthed monstrosity that demands to be seen and relished in a cinema with an amped-up audience. Lubrication is recommended, though not essential. This is cult material oozing, dripping onto the worn carpet and leaving a love stain. It’s Supernature. It’s a Rum and a Ramble. It’s cheesy onion rings. It’s green tampons. It’s a bad cappuccino. It’s a folk song on a lute and recorder. It’s everything, all at once, and like no oily comedy you’ve swum in before. Feel free to wet your pants. Feel free to order a Heather. “Words don’t come easy to me, this is the only way, for me to say, I love you …”
For one magical night only.