|Film review: The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:57|
Director: Ryan O’Non
One of the loveliest feelings as a film watcher is when a movie sinks its hooks into you completely by surprise. With The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, it doesn’t happen straight away. It doesn’t even happen in the first 20 minutes.
First, you’ve got to get past that clunky six-word title. Then there’s the oh-so-kooky premise of a pop/folk/rock/manchild duo on the road that’s part Flight of the Conchords, part every indie movie ever made. There’s even the “crazy” one, Jim (Weston), who kidnaps Alex (O’Nan) to form the band in the first place.
But once our offbeat artists are behind the wheel of a car, on the way to Toronto’s Battle of the Bands, they start playing their first song – and everything clicks.
Is it the fact that Ryan O’Nan can actually sing and play the guitar? Is it that Jim has a thing for kids toys and spends the whole movie busting out tunes on plastic Fisher Price xylophones?
Whatever it is, it works. And it keeps on working. Hell, with their bizarre blend of CBeebies and Travis, The Brooklyn Brothers may just have created one of the best soundtracks of the year.
Yes, there are problems. Alex is (of course) recovering from a recent break-up. And self-appointed band manager Cassidy (Kebbel) is (inevitably) hot and single. Meanwhile, Alex’s family are (surprise, surprise) disapproving of his wayward lifestyle. (Gossip Girl fans, watch out for Andrew McCarthy as older brother Brian.)
But from the opening scene, in which Alex punches a handicapped child in the face (while dressed as a moose), O’Nan is a likeable guy. He has to be to get away with starring in his own self-penned/directed movie. A sad, hairy schlub of a man, he and Michael Weston make for a superb couple – a partnership matched by Annette Davey’s beat-perfect editing.
The result is an endearingly shabby outing that works better as an elongated music video than a film. In between the life lessons and unsubtle plot points, your feet are guaranteed to start tapping. They won't stop.
A guitar-playing pink moose and a guy who makes music with child’s playthings? The Brooklyn Brothers don't beat the best, but they kick a lot of musical butt.