John Turturro plays macho bowler Jesus Quintana in this remake of the 70s French movie 'Balls', a title that applies to bowling as much as it applies to what he and his buddy have going for them. A trio of misfits whose irreverent, sexually charged dynamic evolves into a surprising love story as their spontaneous and flippant attitude towards the past or future backfires time and again, even as they inadvertently perform good deeds. When they make enemies with a gun-toting hairdresser, their journey becomes one of constant escape from the law, from society and from the hairdresser, all while the bonds of their outsider family strengthen.
This is a weird movie that, in a way, reminds me a lot of Joker.
We get solid performances throughout. Turturro and Cannavale are rock solid and just about always are in my opinion. Tautou is an extra manic pixie dream girl here and it really works. We also get a strong cast of cameos and auxiliary characters with some serious star power all delivering great characters. I actually like the character Turturro is playing as well, he's got this zen hippie criminal thing going that I find oddly compelling from him.
Problem is, this isn't "Jesus" and has nothing to do with The Big Lebowski. This movie is desperately missing the Coen Brothers. It's quirky and weird and surreal, like one of their films but it lacks that spark, that little something extra to really make it pop. When you throw that in with this forced, unnecessary sequel/spin-off and it just never feels right. Turturro's character is enjoyable, but it's not at all how I remember Jesus.
Hence the Joker comparison. I think the Joker is a better movie if it's not about THE Joker and I think this is vastly improved if it's got nothing to do with Lebowski. But, we have to live with what we have and not what I wish we had so this is what we get. A movie with a solid core but an absolute wreck of a premise. There wasn't a scene where it wasn't distracting or frustrating and I just constantly wished I could forget this movie's connections, but I can't. All that said, it's solid background fodder I think, it's just not good for anything more than that.
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