"Brooklyn Brothers" Take a Last Minute Detour to Indie Cliche Review

Ryan O'Nan is taking a page from Lena Dunham's book in his personal indie drama Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best. As writer, director, and star of the film, O'Nan depicts the lives of the unmotivated twenty-something losers that have begun to define a generation (similar to those Girls on Dunham's show). O'Nan plays Alex, a self-proclaimed loser, who loses his two jobs and his latest band gig, which is enough to make anyone want to give up.

But inspiration arrives in the form of Jim (Michael Weston) who is a fan of Alex's musical talents and convinces him to go on a cross-country road trip. He has gigs lined up across the country, ending with a big battle of the bands-style competition in California. Alex's mellow personality is the perfect foil for Jim's zany one, and the quick addition of the charming Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel) gives the gang enough chemistry and verve to make them entertaining.

While the film's main story arc is focused on Alex's personal journey, O'Nan uses the film to showcase his and Weston's musical talents as the titular Brooklyn Brothers. Their music sounds akin to the Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist soundtrack but more depressing (a quality that is his downfall in the beginning of the film). But as they play in low-key bars—and even a fraternity party—Alex begins to realize his potential as a musical artist.

A subplot involving Alex's brother (Andrew McCarthy) arises, pushing Alex to make a decision regarding his future. This straying from the road-trip path is where the film loses its energy. Suddenly the film is less about the Brooklyn Brothers and more about Alex and his real brother and his search for a purpose. Thus, Brooklyn Brothers ends up just another generic indie film.

Bonus Features

A Ryan O'Nan-centered behind-the-scenes featurette follows his creation of the film. Another featurette is a filmed performance of the Brooklyn Brothers followed by a Q&A session at the Northside film and music festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in June 2012. There are two short films by O'Nan focused on the character of Jim. And the disc also includes "A Musical Moose" outtake featurette and trailers for other films by Oscilloscope.

"Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best" is on sale January 8, 2013 and is not rated. Drama. Directed by Ryan Onan. Written by Ryan O'Nan. Starring Andrew Mccarthy, Arielle Kebbel, Christopher McDonald, Jason Ritter, Melissa Leo, Michael Weston, Ryan Onan, Wilmer Valderama.

John Keith • Staff Writer

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