Honestly, if “The Jesus Rolls” would have come out now during the peak of the streaming age, it may have gained a lot more interest if it was marketed as a straight follow-up to “The Big Lebowski.” As such, Turturro’s indie film turns into a fairly meandering crime caper that feels more like an R-rated sitcom following two middle-aged convicts.
After being released from Sing Sing prison, Quintana reunites with his long-lost buddy Petey (Bobby Cannavale) and they waste no time in stealing a car from a random hairdresser (Jon Hamm). They meet up with Marie (Audrey Tautou), a textbook nymphomaniac who joins them on the road committing petty crimes and engaging in awkward scenes of meaningless sex. Life has passed them by, leaving Jesus and Petey to wander the Earth until they either luck into a big score or wind up back in the pen.
Jesus, the character, pretty much exists in name only as Turturro and Cannavale seem more interested in winging it in their own interpretation of a 1970s buddy crime film. There’s very little connection to the original film by the Coens, with only loose references and lazy callbacks. Turturro seems more concerned with remaking “Going Places” or acting in a comedy version of 1976’s “Mikey and Nicky” starring Peter Falk and John Cassavetes.
Tonally, “The Jesus Rolls” is all over the place making the haphazard direction stand out even more. With a running time right around 90 minutes, the collection of vignettes plays out more like three episodes of a television series instead of a fully constructed feature.