When last we encountered Jim Hosking’s bizarro brand of comedy, we were drowning in the goo secreted by “The Greasy Strangler.” For his sophomore feature, Hosking teams with co-writer David Wike for “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn,” which has more stars but doesn’t skimp on the weird.
Following the impetuous Lulu (Aubrey Plaza), a cadre of kooky characters descend on a hotel for a mysterious show hosted by the taciturn Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson). Fed up with her coffee-shop-manager husband Shane (Emile Hirsch), Lulu runs off with would-be robber Colin (Jemaine Clement) in pursuit of her long-lost love Beverly, who is managed by his controlling “platonic husband” Rodney (Matt Berry). Shane and Colin are in love with Lulu, Lulu and Rodney are in love with Beverly, and no one can have anything they want.
Hosking’s preferred performance style for his actors is deadpan and highly artificial. That works for Plaza and Clement, who don’t even need to alter their naturally wry deliveries. Both Hirsch and Berry excel, fitting in perfectly with this very strange world, but coloring in their characters with nuance. Once Robinson is allowed to move beyond guttural groans, he reveals his character to be the true heart of the film.
At nearly two hours, “An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn” grossly overstays its welcome, but the Hail Mary ending proves it to be a rather sweet and tender story about love lost and found in the unlikeliest of places.
‘An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn’
Rated: R, for language throughout, and for some sexuality/nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood; also on VOD