Jared Hess’s fondness for mocking oddballs isn’t absent in Gentlemen Broncos, but there’s a tad more compassion to be found in his latest weirdo odyssey, in which nerdy budding author Benjamin (Michael Angarano) has his loony fantasy/sci-fi novel plagiarized by his idol, down-on-his-luck scribe Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement, he of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and the Hess/Napoleon Dynamite rip-off Eagle Vs. Shark). Hess’ manicured, symmetrical aesthetic is still too heavily indebted to Wes Anderson. Yet in his low-fi staging of fictional sequences from Chevalier’s book about a long-maned intergalactic hero named Bronco (Sam Rockwell) – as well as scenes from Chevalier’s rip-off version, in which Bronco becomes a white-haired transvestite (also Rockwell) – he strikes a proper balance between making fun of such make-believe nonsense and empathetically celebrating its goofy majesty. Though Clement has one hilarious scene in which he reads his agent a passage from an aspiring writer’s dreadful manuscript, Rockwell is the film’s only consistently amusing presence, thanks to borderline-dada moments that find him battling armed, flying stags (which he destroys, at one point, with projectile vomit). That absurdist vitality, however, is far too often nonexistent in Gentlemen Broncos, even when the story – which finds Benjamin’s prose not only stolen by bestseller Chevalier, but also bastardized by a duo of aspiring low-budget filmmakers – warps itself into a bizarro critique of both indie and big-studio moviemaking.