Hail, Caesar!

Rated 3.0

Josh Brolin stars in Hail, Caesar! as Eddie Mannix, a 1950s studio executive known for his ability to protect his stars and manipulate the press. Mannix is loosely based on the real-life MGM “fixer” of the same name, and as a series of disconnected scenes skewering old Hollywood, Joel and Ethan Coen’s film is a blast. Unfortunately, there’s no center to hold the disparate pieces together. We never connect with Mannix as a character, and the film moves in stops and starts, with the pace severely lagging between show-stopping sequences. A lot of scenes work as ideas, but not as scenes, especially the ones involving a cabal of Communist screenwriters. There are still those welcome touches of Coen acidity, and as an examination of the post-war hypocrisy of Hollywood, the fantasyland of Hail, Caesar! is ten thousand times more righteous than the based-on-fact Trumbo. But as a Coen brothers’ movie, it’s just OK. D.B.