Don Verdean – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
Sam Rockwell plays Don Verdean, a biblical archaeologist of disputable reputation. Tony Lazarus (Danny McBride) heads a church that is losing congregation members to a rival church headed by Will Forte. Lazarus hires Don Verdean to find biblical artifacts to bring the crowds back to his doors. Starting with Lot’s wife who was turned to a pillar of salt, Don presents a dubious pile of rocks. In order to keep the dollars flowing and parishioners attending his church, Lazarus hires Verdean to bring him his next archaeological find: Goliath’s skull.
I really enjoyed the casting decisions and the wide range of characters. Danny McBride is great as a rather clueless clergyman and as the straight man. Leslie Bibb is a personal favourite favourite of mine and she was quite funny as Lazarus’ wife, a former escort. Amy Ryan as Verdean’s assistant, brought great charm to the film, and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows) was excellent as Verdean’s “henchman”. Of course I was ultimately drawn in because Sam Rockwell is one of my favourite actors today.
As we go from grave robbing to escaping the Israeli military, conning Chinese investors to finding the Holy Grail, there were some very good laughs, but overall the film seemed a little unenergetic. It seemed like it was trying to evenly balance a slightly dramatic film with the comedy, which seemed to hold it back a bit. The cast did all have great chemistry together and the idea was fairly original. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t really anything as special as I had hoped it could have been.
Bottom Line: I think I need to find the Holy Grail. If only I knew the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow….