The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (15)


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The Independent Culture

Writer-director Ryan O'Nan offers an antidote to American Idol with his debut feature about a musical wannabe.

O'Nan plays Alex, who with his part-time gigs at shelters and special-needs schools is a songwriter destined for the small time.

Even further down on his luck than usual, he meets Jim (Michael Weston), who plays tunes on rinky-dink toy instruments and thinks Alex could be the Lennon to his McCartney. Or perhaps John Otway to his Wild Willy Barrett.

Without much ado the pair hit the road on a cross-country tour of tiny venues, soon joined by a kohl-eyed girl (Arielle Kebbel) who's appointed herself their manager. And, by some miracle, the duo's performances – "The Shins meet Sesame Street" – prove to be a hit.

 Not much of this little journey of self-discovery is very credible, but thanks to O'Nan and Weston it projects a fair degree of charm.

A stopover in the Bible Belt brings Alex into contact with his older uptight brother, played by Andrew (St Elmo's Fire) McCarthy, who himself once knew a bit about stardom. It's bittersweet stuff, engagingly played.