Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best: Indie Rockers on the Road

Everything right about this indie-rocker road movie has to do with the music. Everything wrong with it has to do with the script. Ryan O’Nan is responsible for both, plus the directing and acting in the lead role. Dumped by his band, girlfriend, and employer, Alex is reduced to playing for special-ed schoolkids while wearing a pink moose costume. Then he’s kidnapped/befriended by Pupkinesque musician Jim (Michael Weston), who drags him out on tour. With a sound that somebody calls “the Shins meets Sesame Street,” the Brooklyn Brothers road-rehearse in Jim’s old orange Rabbit, and their music immediately clicks. Sun flares in the windows, Jim plays keyboard on the dash, lovelorn Alex suddenly finds his footing as a songwriter—none of this is believable, but it’s very enjoyable, and their first few club audiences share in the thrill of discovery. To Alex’s mopey guitar ballads, Jim adds a cornucopia of vintage children’s instruments—even old Atari game controllers—to help create a charmingly homemade sound: Michel Gondry meets Flight of the Conchords. Jim and Alex also have a nice slapstick chemistry, as if two of the Three Stooges were musicians. Things fall apart for the Brothers—and us—with the arrival of a bubblegum-sexy club booker (Arielle Kebbel) who climbs into their VW, declaring her intent to manage the band. O’Nan muddies this straightforward bro-com with half-baked romance and family melodrama in San Diego (featuring a nice turn by Andrew McCarthy). There’s no ending, but the movie never loses your goodwill. (Note: O’Nan and Weston will play at 9 p.m. Wednesday at Capitol Hill’s Porchlight Coffee & Records.)