By Fred Topel | Images property of Fox Searchlight
Gentlemen Broncos continues the comedy style that Jared Hess started with Napoleon Dynamite and brought to Hollywood in Nacho Libre. It’s that slightly off (by Hollywood standards) tone that’s funny, but they’re not making jokes.
Review: Gentlemen Broncos
It’s not really that sophisticated. A seminar on naming sci-fi characters is really just about saying funny sounds. The sci-fi sequences are full of bodily humor, and there’s a ton of poop and vomit. They do make a highbrow teabagging joke. That’s indie style ball jokes.
But it’s just so weird. A cute girl asks for tampon money. Then she squeezes into a seat on a bus with two other guys and makes one give her a hand massage slathered in lotion.
There are a ton of locked off shots, which I love. Just show what’s going on. You don’t always need to move around. But here, the camera lingers as characters seem to glide in and out of frame like South Park cartoons.
The actors consciously play awkward. They stretch their mouths open too wide or pull their necks back to enhance their quirky body language. All the characters are lethargic in the way of Napoleon Dynamite, where they say things with no enunciation and don’t even seem to process a response. When characters act in a film within the film, they are purposely stilted.
It’s sweet though. You sense that the young characters are kids actually trying to connect. There’s not much conflict. Stuff happens, characters find out about stuff that happens, then they resolve it. It moves along though.
This is also the first we’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite style action. Not just the sci-fi sequences, there are actual gunfights, and they’re strangely exciting and compelling in this style.
I probably liked Gentlemen Broncos best of all of Jared Hess’s movies, just because I appreciate the world of sci-fi writing and filmmaking more than high school elections or Mexican wrestling. Really it’s the same thing, but no one else is doing it this way so he should keep it up.