An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is Jim Hosking’s followup to his infamously irritating/amusing The Greasy Strangler, which I enjoyed as a you-gotta-see-this provocation. I was curious to see what else Hosking could do, but it seems Greasy Strangler represented the sum of his skills and interests, because AEWBLL is more of the same, but less so. He has a few real actors this time — Aubrey Plaza, Emile Hirsch, Craig Robinson, Jemaine Clement — but they all pitch their performances to be at the same level of stilted badness as the non-actors who fill out the rest of the cast.
The story is about a woman (Plaza) dissatisfied in her marriage (to Hirsch) who discovers that an ex-lover (Robinson) is coming to town to perform a show under his stage name, Beverly Luff Linn. When the husband steals money from Plaza’s brother (who is Pakistani), the brother hires Clement to get it back, and Clement and Plaza run off together to wait at the hotel where Beverly will be performing.
I didn’t think I would miss all the gross-out stuff of Greasy Strangler, but AEWBLL hardly has any and is excruciating. Hosking removed the provocation but kept the deliberately bad acting and go-nowhere story. And the thing is ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT ACTUAL LITERAL MINUTES LONG! There’s a peculiar sincerity underneath it all, and this is clearly the type of film Hosking wants to make. More power to him, but I don’t need to watch them anymore. I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR.