Review: Not-so-righteous 'Gemstones'

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News

Aimless and obvious, “The Righteous Gemstones” is out to mine hypocrisy for hilarity. Unfortunately it only strikes Fool’s Gold.

Nevertheless HBO apparently believes in the appeal of show creator and star Danny McBride, who is making a career out of playing and writing versions of the same self-centered idiot for the network. He was a washed-up athlete in the network’s “Eastbound & Down” (four seasons) and a power-hungry educator in “Vice Principals” (two seasons).

Adam Devine, Danny McBride and John Goodman in "The Righteous Gemstones."

Now he’s the oldest son in a family of filthy rich, constantly sinning evangelical preachers in “The Righteous Gemstones.” Within the first few episodes we see gun-wielding, coke snorting, prostitutes, violence, rabid entitlement and rampant jealousy.

Get it? These people aren’t holy at all! Ha-ha-ha.

The first time a gathering of evangelicals curse their way through a dinner it might be mildly amusing. By the fifth time it’s pretty tired.

Understand, evangelical hypocrisy in the age of Trump is certainly ripe territory for satire. And McBride has assembled a talented cast here – John Goodman plays the family patriarch, Adam Devine is the wide-eyed younger son and Edi Patterson steals scenes as the overlooked female offspring in the misogynistic family.

After a few episodes Walton Goggins comes on as a backwoods preacher whose pretty young backwoods wife has bad teeth. Her bad teeth are a running joke. That’s how hackneyed the running jokes are.

Episodes generally last about half an hour, so there’s not that much pain involved. It’s all loud, dumb stuff.

Loud, dumb stuff can be fun but in “The Righteous Gemstones” it’s all too easy; the jokes are tired, the characters broad and buffoonish, the plot turns lazy. Heaven help us.

“The Righteous Gemstones”


10 p.m. Sunday