Friday, September 21, 2012

Movie with Abe: The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best
Directed by Ryan O’Nan
Released September 21, 2012

Here’s an example of a film whose title is relatively unhelpful in describing the content of its film without knowing just who or what the Brooklyn Brothers are. Fortunately, this comedic drama unfurls its story in a particularly delightful manner, showcasing the increasingly depressing life of Alex (Ryan O’Nan), whose temper, combined with the poor manner in which he is treated by his employers and others, continually causes his jobs to disappear. A chance meeting with an excessively eccentric musician who plays exclusively on kids’ toys, Jim (Michael Weston), changes everything for the better, though that’s hardly clear right away. This movie is the ultimate endearing underdog story.

O’Nan, who broke out in 2010’s “The Dry Land” as a soldier dealing with PTSD upon his return to the United States, steps behind the camera to direct this music-fueled road movie about two loners. In his acting performance, O’Nan is rarely enthusiastic but does an extraordinary job of crafting a compelling character, rarely seen performing acts of kindness or even courtesy but empathetic nonetheless. His screen partner, Weston, best known for memorable guest spots on shows like “Six Feet Under” and “Scrubs,” is equally fantastic, using Jim’s energy and uninhibited hopefulness to motivate both him and those around him. The true breakout of the film is Arielle Kebbel, who, with little more than half a dozen CW series on her resumé, easily jumps into the role of the band’s manager-turned-groupie, Cassidy, who starts out sarcastic and disbelieving but soon can’t help showing her genuine interest in this unlikely duo.

The excellent chemistry of the film’s primary cast is what defines the movie, but they’re all working with a superb script, penned by O’Nan himself. Alex sometimes stutters his thoughts as he finds himself insulted by others, but has no qualms about sharing his gloomy perception of the world, most notably in the songs he sings, which start out positive and quickly turn to themes of betrayal and death. Jim, on the other hand, approaches Alex with a sense of extreme urgency, demanding that he get on board with his idea of an unbeatable band duo. Cassidy’s introduction is very memorable as well, and there isn’t a dull moment in the film. There’s plenty of comedy to be found in the rich, entertaining script, and these three actors handle the mood, a slightly optimistic and off-beat search for happiness, marvelously. The film beats to its own drum just like its characters, and it turns out to be a warm and inviting movie with plenty of great music to boot.


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