Much of the rest of the film is structured like a buddy road comedy, as John and Virgil stumble into several wacky encounters with broadly drawn characters. These include a nude man (Tim Blake Nelson), a stripper in a wheelchair (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a park ranger (Jesse Garcia), and a very funny bit with a carnival's "human torch" neatly played by a masked John Cho.
Twists and intrigue take the story in different directions as John begins to assert himself and fight his demons, but the tone is uneven and the film never quite finds its footing. Part of the problem is an underdeveloped script by debuting writer-director Hue Rhodes. Much of the dialogue feels ad-libbed and the story not thought out well.
Still, it's a nice showcase for Buscemi, a fine actor who needs better projects. He doesn't make a huge career leap with this guy, but he makes the movie bearable to sit through and gives it whatever cohesion and style it has. As his partner, Malco also gets moments to shine and is well-cast, as is Silverman, who underplays her office worker and holds back the neurotic tics most of her previous outings have featured. It's always fun to see Dinklage, but he is completely wasted in the boss role and seems to be struggling to make something of it.
"Saint John of Las Vegas" makes good use of its Southwestern locations and creates a nice atmosphere of pure blandness that John blends into very well. It's not a bad movie; it's just not a good one, either.
Written and directed by: Hue Rhodes.
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Romany Malco, Peter Dinklage, Sarah Silverman,
Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Cho, Tim Blake Nelson, Jesse Garcia.