Monday, October 4, 2010

Gentlemen Broncos

A few years ago, Napoleon Dynamite hit a nerve with moviegoers, gaining a cult following no one really expected.  Writer/director Jared Hess followed up that success with Nacho Libre (which I have not seen) and now Gentlemen Broncos.  As a life-long sci-fi fan, I was interested in this movie about a teen-ager whose novel is ripped off by a famous writer.

Chevalier, a prolific and well-known fantasy/sci-fi author, has hit a crisis point in his career: he's run out of ideas and his publisher is breathing down his neck.  At a writing workshop, Benjamin submits a manuscript for Chevalier's evaluation.  Chevalier likes it so much he decides to coopt the story for himself, making a few changes and submitting it for publication.  Meanwhile, Benjamin's friend Lonnie decides to make a movie from the manuscript.  The movie flips around from this movie-within-the-movie, to Benjamin's distress at learning his idea has been stolen, to Chevalier's accusations of Lonnie's stealing the movie idea from him. 
The tone and humor of Gentlmen Broncos definitely fits in the Napoleon Dynamite mold: quirky characters, flat delivery, small-town folks, and teens struggling with their own awkwardness.  GB, however, has a more complete story than ND, in which any story was incidental.  Gentlemen Broncos is a dumb movie, but in a good way, not dumb as in stale, trite, or a waste of time, but dumb as in celebrating the dumb, funny, goofy, entertaining normalcy of normal, funny people.  This is not fast-talking, stand-up comedian comedy, but comedy on a human scale.  I like it.

Bottom line, 3 stars.

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