I love The Big Lebowski, and the thought of a real sequel would be most welcome. When there was a rumoured return of The Dude around Superbowl time I was immensely disappointed to learn that it was a damned advert.
I knew The Jesus Rolls was not going to be the sequel I wanted, but it was an interesting enough premise to take a character who had a small part in the original movie and spin that out into something memorable. John Turturro is usually pretty reliable, as is Audrey Tatou, and the cast is stocked with good actors. I knew I was not getting a Coen Brothers script, but I was willing to hang with it and see where it took me.
The sad answer is nowhere I wanted to go. All the highlights of who Jesus was in The Big Lebowski here get trotted out to little or no effect, because they are quotations from a masterpiece with no similarly great framework within which to exist.
I can just about muster up some liking for Audrey Tatou’s character Marie, but Jesus and Petey (played by Bobby Carnavale) are sad losers who are boring and not funny. The machismo is filtered through some very strange reference points from Lewbowski and apparently owes something to the French movie that it takes inspiration from.
It could have been awkward comedy gold in the vein of something Todd Solondz might turn out, or John Waters. Instead it doesn’t really land any of the things it aims at sticking. I was glad when it ended.