Jared Hess makes weird movies. Napoleon Dynamite remains his calling card, although Nacho Libre and the terrible Gentlemen Broncos also fall in that category.
Don Verdean is no different: it’s all quirk. However, it’s also borderline unwatchable. It also wastes so much talent, with Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Danny McBride and Jemaine Clement foundering while Hess creakily moves his story along.
Rockwell, who executive produced—doubling his pain if not his blame—plays the titular character, a Biblical archaeologist on the hunt for Goliath’s skull who has to, shall we say, cut a few corners to “find” the artifact. While Hess’ oddball characters and fresh story could make for a good time at the movies, Don Verdean just isn’t funny.
It feels like all the lines intended to be funny were just dropped in as placeholders until they came up with something better. But, unfortunately, that never happened.