Review: John Turturro’s ‘Lebowski’ spinoff ‘The Jesus Rolls’ goes straight into the gutter
Standing out among the memorable catchphrases in “The Big Lebowski” — “The Dude abides” aside — was “Nobody … with the Jesus,” uttered by John Turturro’s colorful Puerto Rican bowling champ, Jesus Quintana.
Both the line and the character, but little else that made the 1998 Coen brother’ film a cult comic masterpiece, has been resurrected for “The Jesus Rolls,” a gutter ball of a sophomoric, white middle-age male sex farce fantasy that quickly wears out an already tenuous welcome.
Freshly released from prison, Quintana is greeted by his buddy Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and the pair hit the road in a vintage car they steal from a trigger-happy hairdresser (Jon Hamm) along with his uninhibited French shampooist (a game but miscast Audrey Tautou of “Amélie” renown.)
Along the way there are numerous detours, including a visit to Quintana’s prostitute mother (Sonia Braga) and a ménage-à-trois with the soulful Jean (Susan Sarandon), who has also just gotten out of the pen.
Originally shot in 2016, the production ultimately owes less to the Coens than it does to French filmmaker Bertrand Blier, whose racy 1974 comedy, “Going Places” (Les Valseuses) serves as the inspiration for Turturro’s writing and direction, but the juxtaposition of character and vehicle simply never coalesces.
One wishes he had taken Quintana’s motto to heart.
‘The Jesus Rolls’
Rated: R, for strong sexual content, language throughout and brief nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Playing: Starts Feb. 28, Arclight Hollywood, Laemmle Playhouse, Pasadena, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica
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