I finally saw the film last night. It premiered in Seattle a week ago, but I was having some issues with my eyes, so it would have been a bit wasteful to go then. Thankfully my eyes are much better now, so I could see Jemaine in all of his big-screen glory! I must be honest, out of Jared Hess' 3 films, this one left me with the worst first impression. I didn't dislike it completely, but I didn't like it as much as his other films. (Just in case you cared, Napoleon Dynamite made me sad upon first viewing, because I knew WAY too many people like him when I was growing up. I eventually grew to love it, and saw it in theatres 6 times in 2004. I know it's not everyone's cup'o'tea, but I laugh hysterically every time I watch Nacho Libre. Jack Black is a comedic genius, and I feel that his singing voice and eyes brows deserve an award.)
So anyways, Gentlemen Broncos... I'll start with the elements that I enjoyed. Michael and Jennifer were wonderful as mother and son. Their dynamic may have been strange and a bit frightening, but overall, they were a pretty awesome team. My boyfriend was home schooled growing up, and he said he's seen many a home school mom who was just like Jennifer. I'm not sure whether that should make me laugh or cry. Benjamin was always respectful of his mom, no matter what crazy scheme she had up her sleeve, which was very sweet (and believable). I actually enjoyed watching the Lonnie character. I found the character himself to be pretty repulsive, BUT he is the same actor who played Jack Black's sidekick in Nacho Libre, so I enjoyed seeing them utilize his, um, unique facial features once again. Oddly enough, he looked better in Nacho Libre, and he was a half-naked hobo in that movie. LOL! Let's face it, Lonnie and Tabitha were wretched, wretched people, but they were a necessary evil. Dusty was disturbing, but I agree with Laura, there was something endearing about him. I just love Mike White. AND of course...there was that Chevalier guy, with his blue tooth, 80's clothes, and delightfully hairy chest! (I grinned a bit too much when the chest hair appeared, and my boyfriend covered my eyes. Jerk.) Like CJ, I was disappointed that we'd already heard his best lines in the trailer, but he was enjoyable nonetheless. I really disliked Chevalier, so Jemaine did a good job in creating a real douche bag of a character. It was apparent that Dr. C was meant to be a smaller part, as it was really Benjamin's story. I was disappointed that they didn't develop Dr. C's character a little more in the movie. I felt that we learned more about him in those little YouTube videos about relaxating and inspiring oneself, than in the movie itself. I guess it's silly to ask that they focus on Jemaine just for the sake of focusing on Jemaine, but hey, it would have been nice.
What I disliked most about the movie is that I felt they tried to cram way too much into too short a film. There were so many little side plots and characters that didn't really get much development. Jared's other movies were sort of the opposite. Those movies had few characters, and virtually no plot, so they had plenty of time to explore their nuances and inadequacies. Gentlemen Broncos didn't flow well for me, and felt disjunct and clumsy, particularly in the first half. The last half was better, especially after Benji grew a pair, and started taking charge of his life. The sci fi sequences weren't that interesting to me, except for maybe the "Oh my holy crap" part, but we'd already seen that in the trailer. I thought the "friendship stone" was kind of funny, but other than that, Benji's original story was a real stinker. LOL! Sorry kid. I'm sure they meant for it to be bad, since this movie as all about exploiting bad sci fi, but it wasn't bad enough to be "so bad it's good". It was just bad. I hope that makes sense. I didn't appreciate the gross out bits, and the vomit-kiss was just dumb. I thought Michael did a good job of looking genuinely sick, with the tears and everything. Seriously, his performance kept this film from being a total train wreck.
I guess it sounds like I didn't like the movie, but I kind of did like it. I just didn't love it. Not by a long shot. I was in kind of a bad mood when we headed out to the theatre, so maybe I would have like it better had I not been such a grump last night. I'm sure I'll see it again, although I may wait until in comes out on DVD. I actually missed about 5 minutes of the film, because I had to go to the ladies room half way through. I was tempted just to hold it until he end, but that would have made it a pretty miserable 45 minutes. My BF said that I just missed Benjamin selling his story to Tabitha and Lonnie, so I didn't miss any Jemaine. Another thing I liked about the movie was the soundtrack. The songs were very appropriate, and helped move the action along. Anyway, I'm going to stop rambling about this. I don't really have much more to add. I'm not sure if I would recommend this movie to my non-Conchord fan friends, because I don't think they'd like the movie enough without having an appreciation for Jemaine. If he weren't in it, I would have enjoyed the movie far less.
What about you guys? Would you recommend this movie to friends and family?
BTW, we did stay until after the credits, because I figured there would be some sort of extra nugget at the end. The added scene made me laugh, so I'm glad I stayed.