"Where this film excels most, is within its ability to make you laugh out loud..."
There are few films that come out in a year that actually provoke consistent, genuine laughter, yet Ryan O'Nan's musical-comedy The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best does exactly that - it's just a shame for the writer-director that his picture just so happens to be coming out on the same day as a certain Christopher Nolan flick, which you may have heard about it.
O'Nan plays Alex, a dejected loser who spends much of time wandering around parks on his own dressed up as a pink moose. Failing at almost everything, Alex is sacked from his day job and then turns his attentions to his musical career, although his average audience of around three or four people is not helping matters either, that is, however, until he meets the like-minded Jim (Michael Weston).
Despite getting off on the wrong foot (Jim punches Alex in the face) the pair decide to go on a tour of America together, as an innovative two-piece musical act going by the name of The Brooklyn Brothers. They instantly raise attention for their unique style, and their first (and only...) fan Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel) joins them on tour, as the trio look for a new start in life and the chance to become people they have always dreamt of being - whilst Alex and Cassidy take somewhat of a liking towards one another...
Given the film's overall premise, there are obvious comparisons to be made to Flight of the Conchords, as that also focuses on two hapless musicians attempting to make a name for themselves. However it does seem somewhat unfair to draw such comparisons given the brilliance of the New Zealand comedy series. O'Nan manages to keep his feature unique however, despite evidently taking many pointers from other productions. This is highlighted perfectly in the scene where they have to jump-start their car, clearly heavily influenced by Little Miss Sunshine, except in this instance when Alex and Jim jump in the car, it stops again.
Much credit must go to O'Nan for this feature, as not only is he the leading star, but he wrote and directed this picture also, not to mention his somewhat endearing singing performances. The original songs are one of the best aspects to this film, as they're actually rather good. It's always important in musical productions for this to be the case, as the narrative simply wouldn't work if the music was terrible, as their surprisingly catchy tunes are the point to the whole film. It's always more effective and more comical when the songs are strangely good, for example in The Office when David Brent gets his guitar out - the beauty to it is that there is an ironic element of talent involved, adding to the believability of the scene at hand.
Where this film excels most, is within its ability to make you laugh out loud, although I'm unsure whether much of that is the surprise factor, as, and let's face it, the title is long-winded and unconvincing and the words "musical-comedy" never seem to fill me with much hope. The funniest character is Alex, as O'Nan is depicting someone that is quite simply a loser. He does remain easy to relate to though, despite the fact he punches a disabled child in the face. It's one of the productions where the protagonist is supposedly the ordinary, sensible one, but he's just as bonkers as those around him, similar to Father Ted in that respect. The film does become somewhat surreal in points, although on a more negative note, is can be mawkish on occasion, particularly when depicting the potential romance between Alex and Cassidy.
The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best isn't anything new or original, but it's a well-made, harmless film - pleasant, charming and most importantly, funny. In terms of coming up against this weeks high-profile releases, this picture may not beat the best, but it comes close.