Dir. Jared Hess. USA. 2009.

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Jared Hess, who gave us the world Napoleon Dynamite, and followed up with the admirable 'Nacho Libre' with Jack Black; returns with his third feature which takes a look at a small niche of the literary market.
Benjamin Purvis (Michael Angarano) is a young would be sci-fi novelist, who has written an epic work 'Yeast Lords' - whilst considered laughable by his peers - Benjamin is committed in sharing it with the world.  Enter, a hack, Dr. Ronald Chevalier (Jermain Clement - Flight of the Conchords) who is past his never there prime and steals Benjamin's work and with a few changes cures his writer's block and sells it off as his own.
Whilst in 'Napoleon' you had a character who was sympathetic and appealing because of his yearning to be recognised in school ending in the ultimate 'action speaks louder than words' moment; at least Napoleon knew what he wanted and his ambition matched his action.  Even, Jack Black's wrestling monk had a dream to conquer and achieve.  Here the film falls a bit short of ambition; and not just the characters.
The characters when we meet might anticipate a comedy of real potential if coupled with a worthwhile story.  Unfortunately, we are met by an ensemble comedy full of characters who are filling up space - once the story maneourves the switch of novels and plagarism, you expect a tale of twisted revenge (a more acerbic 'Big Fat Liar') but each character seems happy with their role in life and whereas Napoleon was life affirming, the characters here are downbeat.
While it might seem a cheap shot to take aim at the sci-fi literati and their geekdom - the film enjoys itself more when it looks away from the immediate narrative, taking pleasure in the fantasy sequences (with all its iconography and creative motifs) of 'Yeast Lords'; we have three interpretations of the lead role - genesis, Benjamin's selling of it and Chevalier's stealing of the image.  
Coupling a wonderful opening credit sequence, which matches 'Napoleon's' culinary delights, and the talented actors on display here - Jennifer Coolidge, Sam Rockwell, Mike White - it is a wonder that a film that had the potential to be quite witty and satirical, becomes something more absurdist and knee deep in bathroom humour.  Unfortunate as Clement has prodigious comic chops, and Angarano is a young multi-genre talent to keep an eye on.
GENTLEMEN BRONCOS is out now on Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Jamie Garwood

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