The consensus seems to be that while the talent and charm of Jon Heder and Jack Black might have carried the Hess' first two projects, there's nobody around this time to soften the edge of the entirely strange characters and plot lines. See what critics are saying below, then tell us what you think. Already showing signs of fray on their last project, 'Nacho Libre,' the creative spark and magic evident in Jared and Jarusha Hess' 2004 breakthrough effort 'Napoleon Dynomite' seems to completely become undone in their latest film, 'Gentlemen Broncos.' Indeed, the film isn't really getting any love from anybody.
The consensus seems to be that while the talent and charm of Jon Heder and Jack Black might have carried the Hess' first two projects, there's nobody around this time to soften the edge of the entirely strange characters and plot lines. See what critics are saying below, then tell us what you think.
The New York Times: "At one point during 'Gentlemen Broncos,' a misfire from the filmmakers who brought the world 'Napoleon Dynamite,' and, more happily, 'Nacho Libre,' I began to wonder how many evacuations a comedy can deliver before they ruin the joke. The spray of vomit that inspired this question had just shot out of the mouth of the hapless teenager at the center of the new movie, an emission preceded or followed by (I lost track) a geyser of snake feces and some nonreptilian, if equally repellent, defecation. The problem, of course, as great gross-out comedies from 'Monty Python's the Meaning of Life' to 'American Pie' have proved time and again, has nothing to do with waste matter and everything to do with timing, good jokes and characters you can laugh with and at, all mostly missing from 'Gentlemen Broncos.'"
Entertainment Weekly: "As they did in 'Napoleon Dynamite' and 'Nacho Libre,' the Hesses claim to celebrate the amusing qualities of misshapen people and their misshapen dreams, insisting that amateurism and bad taste (both in filmmaking and in life) are intentional artistic choices. The audience may have bought the act in 'Napoleon Dynamite.' But this time, the act bombs."
The Hollywood Reporter: "The relentlessly (and overbearingly) quirky imagination of filmmaker Jared Hess yields diminishing returns in his third feature. While 'Napoleon Dynamite' was carried by Jon Heder's offbeat charm and 'Nacho Libre' by Jack Black's manic energy, 'Gentlemen Broncos' has little to offer besides unrelenting strangeness. It pretty much peaks with its wonderful opening credit sequence, featuring a procession of mock paperback covers of sci-fi novels."
The Los Angeles Times: "Watching 'Gentlemen Broncos' sparks the pressing question: 'Is it worse to be clueless or self-deluded?' That's because most every character in this ill-conceived curio from the quirky minds of co-writers Jared and Jerusha Hess ('Napoleon Dynamite,' 'Nacho Libre') is either one or the other -- or both. Satire aside, what the oddball folks here never feel is real, despite the filmmakers' claims of autobiographical parallels. Instead, badly dressed and unflatteringly shot, they come off like punch lines to jokes that never pay off."
'Gentlemen Broncos' showtimes and tickets
The New York Post: "BASHING 'Gentlemen Broncos' feels like taking a bat to a bag full of kittens, so I'll try to be gentle about the latest geekfest from the husband-and-wife team that gave us 'Napoleon Dynamite' and 'Nacho Libre.'"
USA Today: "If you didn't know otherwise, you'd swear that 'Gentlemen Broncos' was made by a disaffected high school student -- and not a particularly talented one."
Variety: "Napoleon Dynamite seems perfectly well-adjusted (not to mention downright 'charismatic) compared to homeschooled mama's boy Benjamin Purvis in 'Gentlemen Broncos,' the latest oddball character portrait from one-trick helmer Jared Hess. This time, the misfit in question is an aspiring science-fiction writer easily upstaged by his idol, a pompous (but published) fantasy author, played by 'Flight of the Conchords' star Jemaine Clement like the cosmic love child of Tim Curry and Orson Welles. Pic tickled its target demo at Fantastic Fest, though it's hard to imagine Fox Searchlight reaching enough geeks in theaters to come anywhere near 'Nacho Libre''s $80 million."
The Huffington Post: "Apparently 'Napoleon Dynamite' was the happy accident. A flat, self-consciously mannered film, 'Gentlemen Broncos' wants to have it both ways. It wants the audience to laugh at the cheesy aesthetic of amateur aspiring artists, even as it offers its own amateurish version of a film comedy."