After he loses everything, compulsive gambler John Aligheiri (Buscemi) reinvents himself in New Mexico as an auto insurance adjuster. He soon begins dating a happy-go-lucky coworker (Silverman) with an unhealthy obsession for smiley faces. So far, so good. But when he’s promoted to fraud investigator, John is sent on assignment with the mysterious Virgil (Malco) to look into a dubious car crash that took place right outside of Las Vegas.
Loosely inspired by Dante’s Inferno and situated in the minimart no-man’s-land between the Southwest and Sin City, writer-director Hue Rhodes’s debut reminds you that, apparently, all that’s required to manufacture an Amerindie comedy is an open road and quirky characters. Not surprisingly, the road to paradise is paved with a series of contrived encounters with assorted oddballs, including a wheelchair-bound stripper, a man on fire, a group of Luddite nudists and a salvage-yard owner named (yes) Lucypher. Unfortunately, Rhodes refuses to explore the Heaven-and-Hell allegory, opting instead for a pointlessly nonlinear narrative overflowing with superficial walk-on characters. Though the credits include an impressive roster of names, this low-stakes poker hand feels like an undiscovered relic from the early ’90s, and that’s not a good thing.—Andrew Grant
Opens Fri; Angelika. Find showtimes
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