Don Verdean

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) made Jared and Jerusha Hess the freshest new voices in American screen comedy; Nacho Libre (2006) made them embarrassing one-trick ponies. I haven’t seen their Gentleman Broncos (2009), but this fourth feature, a lampoon of Christian pseudohistory, shows them breaking new ground and scoring plenty of laughs. Sam Rockwell applies his usual deft touch to the title character, whose born-again ministry is founded on his dubious excavation of religious relics in Israel, but whose charlatanism serves a sincere and abiding faith. Amy Ryan is his gullible, adoring research assistant, and just as the satirical dividends begin to give out, Jemaine Clement jump-starts the movie with his sly performance as a scheming, lovelorn Israeli guiding the Americans around the Valley of Elah in search of Goliath’s skull. With Will Forte and Danny McBride.