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Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

Likable leads can’t energize lackluster formula in Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, an indie about—tell me if this sounds familiar—a brokenhearted sad sack who travels cross-country with a weirdo and a too-hot-for-these-dorks woman on a road trip of healing and self-actualization. The moper in question is singer-songwriter Alex (Ryan O’Nan, also the writer/director), who carries around his ex’s Dear John letter and hooks up with toy instrument-playing kook Jim (Michael Weston) on a tour out West—a plan that seems fantastic after he’s both fired from his lousy real estate job and, at a gig for kids in which he wears a moose costume, repeatedly punches a disabled boy in the face. Along their wacky way, they pick up fetching Cassidy (Arielle Kebbel), land shows at unlikely venues (including a freaky frat house), betray each other, and deliver platitudes about embracing their outcast status as a fulfilling be-all/end-all. O’Nan and Weston’s rapport is engagingly prickly but their “Shins meets Sesame Street” tunes have a tweeness also found in the director’s music montages and lens flares. Only in its even-handed treatment of Alex’s fundamentalist-Christian brother (Andrew McCarthy) does the film feel like something less than a corny cornucopia of manchildren-grow-up clichés. Nick Schager


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