Comedy is a tricky business, but trusted names bring audiences in. Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords is exactly such a name. Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Recreation is another. Matt Berry aka Stephen Toast in Toast of London means a full complement of talent. None of them seem content to rest on their laurels, and An Evening With Beverly Luff Lynn seems to be the result of some kind of comedy/ improvisational experiment. Is it funny? In places, for sure. It’s also super weird, but the good bits stick in the memory.
A series of off-beat characters decend on a hotel where a Scottish singer (Beverly Luff Linn, played with some range by The Office’s Craig Robinson) is due to perform. Linn is highly strung, and each night his performance is rescheduled leaves time for more intrigue, notably between Clement’s wayward hit-man and Plaza, both on the run for an erratic and potentially violent Emile Hirch.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is supposedly a comedy, but the intention frequently seem to be intended to alienate as much as to engage. Fans of Clement, Plaza and Berry will be interested to see their favourites play characters who are very different from the ones that we’re used to, and presumably the actors were delighted to play wildly against type. Yet there are genuine comic gems in Jon Hosking’s film, particularly an unexpected monologue about flat-headed birds, and an ensemble dance-off to FR David’s enduring Europop smash Words.
Persuaded? Intrigued? Well, there’s one way to find out. If you watch the entire movie, it teases and teases what the big finale will be until Robinson takes the stage after several false starts. When he does, Beverly Luff Lynn’s show-stopping performance couldn’t be more unexpected; it’s a traditional Scottish song in the form of Matt McGinn’s wry football anthem ‘I wish that I had never become a football referee.’ As with most of the ingredients here, there’s absolutely no context of explanation, but if you’re in the right mood, it’s funny AF and a fitting end of one of the strangest movies ever made.