I loved it, but it was not the movie I expected. I imagine it's not the movie anyone expects based on the trailer. That paints it as a caper movie, with the studio head assembling a menage of actors to rescue a kidnapped star.
It's not that at all. Which is just me warning some people because that seems to be one of the biggest reasons why audiences aren't responding to this the way they expected.
This is Eddie Mannix's story, as played by Josh Brolin. He is the fixer at his studio, which means it's his job to make sure there is only ever positive press about the studio. There was actually a real Eddie Mannix, who was a real jerk, but Brolin's version is a softer man, plagued by guilt for the lies he tells his wife.
This is a day in Eddie's life, which he starts still wondering what he's going to do about a very tempting offer from Lockheed to leave the movie business and come work for them. It's his job to deal with the unseen Big Boss, manage the various productions, and fix whatever problems arise. This includes George Clooney as the big star getting kidnapped, a fussy director trying to deal with a cowboy star who suddenly has to do a serious drama, and a pregnant Scarlett Johanssen who doesn't know who the father of her baby is. It's an effervescent take on 50s Hollywood, satirizing it while at the same time loving every second of it.
On top of it, there's this whole religion metaphor going on, which was funny as hell. Early on, Eddie has a scene with a rabbi, a reverend, a Catholic priest, and a Greek Orthodox priest where he's trying to find out if there's anything in their prestige picture, Hail Caesar, that would be offensive to reasonable viewers. I was rolling. Robert Picardo steals the whole scene with his rabbi.
One of the best revelations of the movie? The kid who played the cowboy Hobie. His name is Alden Ehrenreich, and he's charming and funny and adorable and believable, all wrapped up in one package. He's not the protagonist, but he's definitely the heart of the movie.
So do I recommend it? I do, but I'll be honest. I think it's probably best enjoyed by people who appreciate the Coen style, or adore the Golden Age of Hollywood, or are keen on satire. The trailer wants the viewing public to think it's a mainstream comedy, but it's not. It's a Coen Brothers film, through and through.