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DON VERDEAN (Jared Hess). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (December 11)..
DON VERDEAN (Jared Hess). 96 minutes. Opens Friday (December 11). See listings. Rating: NN
Don Verdean is an awfully thin comedy about a struggling archaeologist (Sam Rockwell) who finds success by making fraudulent religious artifacts for his Christian patrons in America. It’s a bit of a niche.
Jared and Jerusha Hess’s script meanders through a series of incidents without much momentum or perspective, let alone actual comedy. The creators of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre aren’t exactly huge on plot, but they’ve always managed to find interesting ways for their outsider heroes to interact. Even Gentlemen Broncos gave its competing eccentrics a fun rivalry.
Don Verdean gathers its weirdos, same as always – Jemaine Clement as an Israeli co-conspirator, Will Forte as an ex-Satanist minister who fancies himself Don’s nemesis, Danny McBride and Leslie Bibb as Don’s praise-be patrons – but doesn’t give them much to do besides sneer at one another while waiting for Don’s latest caper to collapse.
Amy Ryan has a nice turn as Don’s naive assistant, but her humanity is more than this movie can handle.