Saint John of Las Vegas

Rated 3.0

A compulsive gambler working in an Albuquerque, New Mexico, insurance office (Steve Buscemi) is sent to Vegas with a veteran fraud investigator (Romany Malco) to debunk a dubious claim from a wheelchair-bound stripper (Emmanuelle Chriqui, oddly sweet). Writer-director Hue Rhodes models his sardonic road picture on Dante’s Inferno, but such literary pretensions lead his reach to exceed his grasp. The movie has appealing and amusing touches—the craggy Buscemi as a paradoxically nice guy, Sarah Silverman as a co-worker with a serious smiley-face fetish, John Cho as a carnival “human torch” who can’t turn off the fire—but the whole is slightly less than the sum of its parts. Still, Rhodes shows promise, with hints of a breadth of experience beyond the usual film-school references to old movies; he bears watching.