There are some movies that are so weird that you are struck with awe by their creativity. On the other hand, there are some films that are so weird you question the sanity of the person who made it. An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn certainly falls into the latter category.
Directed and co-written by Jim Hosking (The Greasy Strangler), the movie follows a woman whose unhappy marriage takes a turn for the worse when a mysterious man from her past comes to town for a performance.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the movie is its dialogue. Having seen The Greasy Strangler, this style of dialogue is very much Hosking’s style. While it is possible that some audiences may appreciate it ironically, it is awkwardly written. The dialogue makes it seem almost as if the writers have never had any human interactions before. It seems as if the film is trying to be surreal, but the content does not necessitate that tone.
There are also a lot of things that are randomly weird and just don’t make any sense. Why does Beverly Luff Linn communicate through grunts? Why does the concierge seem so creepy? How was that break dancing? And the biggest question of all: is it even possible to swim like that?
The acting is frequently frustrating too, making the movie’s lack of quality seem purposeful. Despite an extremely talented ensemble including Aubrey Plaza, Craig Robinson, and Jemaine Clement, the film still feels highly amateurish. In many parts, the actors are so monotonous with their delivery that it seems like they are reading cue cards. Then, they suddenly switch to having over-the-top emotions. This is jarring and uncomfortable.
It is entirely possible that this movie intends to be so bad it’s good. However, this doesn’t entirely work. The film obviously isn’t taking itself seriously, but it also doesn’t really have a sense of self-awareness. Since neither of these things is present, it isn’t able to break into the cult-worthy canon of bad movies.
Only in the last twenty minutes or so does the film begin to find its footing. At this point, the story becomes much more interesting, the characters become more likable, and the jokes actually become somewhat funny. The story answers no questions in its final act, but it does tone down on the weirdness, allowing for a few good character moments.
Additionally, the movie is very competently-shot. The cinematography and production design are both solid, giving the film a retro feel. Hosking also knows how to use music very well. The score is catchy, and the original songs, while as ridiculous as the film itself, are some of the most humorous moments.
Overall, while An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is sure to have its fans, it will more likely alienate most of its viewers with its absurd and awkwardly-written dialogue and story. That being said, it is certainly a vast improvement over The Greasy Strangler.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is now playing in select theaters and on VOD.