“Hail, Caesar!” is an original — there is nothing else like it in theaters these days. It calls back to a lost time in Hollywood when studio heads fixed problems on movies, including keeping their stars out of the wrong kind of headlines. In this case, Josh Brolin is the man in charge of keeping things moving ahead smoothly. He plays studio mogul Eddie Mannix, and his role includes keeping DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johannson) out of the news when she winds up pregnant out of wedlock, a stigma during this period in the ’50s. He also deals with one of his leading men, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), being kidnapped by a group of writers who want a ransom paid for all the money they feel the studio heads have swindled them out of over the years. Whitlock has been making a movie similar to “Ben-Hur.”
The movie features a group of sailors in a dance number, which Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) leads, and Whitlock tells stories about Danny Kaye. The film has an older “glory of Hollywood” feel to it. However, the laughs are sporadic. The film has some genuinely funny moments and some other gags that tank. Also, a Jewish man gets into an argument with some Catholic priests over whether or not Jesus is divine, and the scene is as much irreverent as it is unnecessary. One character asks if God had children like He would have a dog or a collie. A lot of viewers’ funny bones will not be tickled. It’s simply a moment of poor taste in the film.
At any rate, despite featuring several stars such as Johan Hill, Ralph Fiennes, and Tilda Swinton, the film fails in the area of language, as there are several strong profanities included in the movie. As a result, we cannot award “Hail Caesar!” our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.