A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is a quirky comedy that starts out with an incompetent caper and becomes an oddball romcom. Aubrey Plaza stars as Lulu Danger, who joins up with a love-struck henchman (Jemaine Clement) in an attempt to reunite with a mysterious performer named Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson). Expect plenty of strong language (primarily "f--k" and "s--t") and some sexuality, including brief side nudity during off-kilter encounters and moments of extreme lust. There's also a little bit of violence (including non-serious gun threats) and drinking by adults.
What's the story?
In AN EVENING WITH BEVERLY LUFF LINN, dissatisfied Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) looks on with indifference as her wannabe big man, café-manager husband, Shane (Emile Hirsch), robs her brother, Adjay (Sam Dissanayake). But Lulu's interest piques when she learns that mysterious performer Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson), with whom she shares a secret past, is coming to town. When Adjay dispatches henchman Colin (Jemaine Clement) to retrieve the money, Lulu forces the love-struck Colin to run away with her and the loot and aid in her quest to reunite with Beverly.
Is it any good?
Set in some kind of vaguely '70s/'80s nevertime, this offbeat comedy mixes low-key, deadpan quirkiness with performances delivered in intentionally large gestures. An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is a fake noir that recalls the exaggeratedly awkward style of Napoleon Dynamite and Wes Anderson, but it only consistently delivers when the hilarious Clement is on-screen. It's populated by oddballs, though its studied weirdness keeps us from loving them -- save for Shane's sidekick, Tyrone (Zach Cherry), and Clement's Colin. Colin is a soft-hearted thug whose idea of an intimate baring of souls with Lulu involves a long monologue about his difficulties pooping as a child. (To be fair, that story does end in triumph.) Clement's unsentimental underdog is easy to root for. The actor knows how to wring unexpected laughs out of a moment, such as when he unexpectedly whispers the repetition of a line.
Luff Linn has its moments. In one sequence that parodies noir suggestiveness, a rotund, growling Beverly -- wearing an old-timey, candy-striped onesie swimsuit -- sends Lulu into uncontrollable spasms of desire. And Beverly punctuates the sentence by emerging from the pool with a primal howl, for some reason. Robinson seems to enjoy the wordless grumbling that constitutes most of his dialogue. Despite the movie's caper setup, the real crimes here may be against fashion. Adjay storms in to berate the thieves wearing a cable-knit longshoreman's sweater and jean shorts. The actors' wigs were clearly chosen for their potential to blind potential witnesses. Hirsch is way over the top, Plaza is only partially femme fatale-y. Cherry steals scenes with harmless thuggery. Luff Linn doesn't fully cash in on its promise, but the foolish sweetness of Clement's performance will make it worthwhile to some.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cinematic style of An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn. Does it remind you of any other movies? If so, which ones? What did you think of the mix between deadpan and absurd humor?
How do independent movies tend to compare to movies released by major studios?
- In theaters: October 19, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2019
- Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Craig Robinson, Emile Hirsch
- Director: Jim Hosking
- Studio: Film4
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language throughout, and for some sexuality/nudity
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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