Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gentlemen Broncos

Directed by Jared Hess.
2009. Rated PG-13, 90 minutes.
Michael Angarano
Jennifer Coolidge
Jermaine Clement
Halley Feiffer
Héctor Jiménez
Sam Rockwell
John Baker

Benjamin Purvis (Angarano) is an aspiring sci-fi writer and a bit of a loner. His mom, played by American Pie’s original MILF, Jennifer Coolidge, sends him off to a writer’s camp. By the way, she’s an aspiring fashion designer. Once there, he is befriended by the pushy Tabatha (Feiffer) and her sidekick/independent filmmaker Lonnie (Jiménez). The best part of the camp, as far as Benjamin is concerned is that the keynote speaker and judge of the manuscript contest is famed sci-fi author Chevalier (Clement). Before the rest of the people in the movie, we learn that Chevalier is in danger of being dropped by his publisher since his last few books have tanked and the one he’s working on is apparently terrible. On the other hand, everyone seems to love Benjamin’s work. Hmm, I wonder where this is headed.

What follows is a quirky comedy filled with awkward moments and passages from our hero’s story playing out in front of our eyes, performed mostly by Sam Rockwell. It’s brought to us by Jared Hess, the creator of Napoleoon Dynamite. Even without that tidbit of info we can recognize the same style of humor. The tone and delivery of lines are largely identical. The difference is Napoleoon Dynamite has better jokes and note-perfect performances. GB feels like a lame imitation. It has its moments but they merely garner mild chuckles, not all out laughter. I’m sure there are some who will swear I just didn’t get it. Maybe they’re right. In any event, despite its best efforts, GB never quite captures the magic of Napoleoon Dynamite. If you’re one of those who just hate Napoleoon Dynamite then stay far, far away from this one.

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