Midway though a board meeting, company president Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) throws himself to his death. No-one knows why; the company is going well. However, now his majority stock is to be sold to the general public and the board (led by the slimy Sidney J. Mussberger played by Paul Newman) decide the only way they can gain control is to make the stock plummet so much that no-one else will buy it and they can snap it up. To do this, they need an idiot to become president and run the company into the ground. Enter country bumpkin Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) who has started work in the mailroom and manages to stumble into Mussberger’s sights. But, when his invention, the hula hoop (“You know, for kids”) becomes a massive success, Mussberger needs to find another way to make his plans succeed.
I’m a huge fan of the Cohen brothers’ films. I don’t recall having seen any of their films that I haven’t enjoyed on some level, even if I haven’t totally loved them. The Hudsucker Proxy is one of their earlier films and has the crazy humour that I’ve come to love. The characters are quirky yet mostly fully developed and realised, and there is a sense of magic throughout. It’s a film that most definitely makes me laugh, but also brings a tear not so much of sadness; can it be a tear of hope?