Adventures of Power Reviews
In Adventures of Power our protagonist, Power, teeters between silly Napoleo Dynamite-like impersonation and seriously comedic acting--the kind seen in a Wes Anderson project. The effect of it all is that the film is, at once, fun and funny but, on the other hand, thoughtful and sweet. It marries the two worlds of silliness and poignancy effortlessly.
Taking place in a small industrial town, the film centers around a lovable, albeit slovenly, loser with a heart of gold who refuses to grow up. His one and only goal, obsession and purpose in life is to play the drums. If you find that to be disheartening, here's the kicker: it's air drums!
While the world is his cymbal, that instrument is rejecting his stick with a loud screech. Power is misunderstood and ignored by most of the people who surround him in his Texas hometown. After some exploratory roughing-up in a Mexican border town, he realizes his true calling is on the opposite end of the country--in glorious New Jersey.
If the premise sounds like a gimmick, it is. There's nothing that Power won't do or any length he won't go to in order to show the world what he's made of.
Adrien Grenier (of "Entourage" fame) makes a fun appearance as Power's boyhood nemesis who secretly shares Power passion for air-drumming despite his rich tycoon father having bought him his way into his very own "legitimate" Country-Emo band--where he plays the real drums.
In the end, both men are forced to face off in a battle of the air drums on an implausibly televised national competiton. By that time, Power has united with a rag-tag set of misfit "drummers" and become friends with them; he's found a girl who sees him as more than just a pathetic loser and hear's his heart beat in more ways than one. Despite all this hokeyness and unabashed fluff, the movie ends up feeling like a triumph in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. It is unashamed of its sentimentality and never takes itself too seriously.
Like other underrated irreverent comedies such as Fanboys and The Rocker, The Adventures of power breathes funny into nerddom. This movie fuses Napolean Dynamite and Air Guitar Nation into a movie where Ari Gold plays Air Drums as a character that doesn't break his clueless intensity and necessity to rock. No, this won't win everyone's heart, but watch it late at night after a hard day's work, and it will put everything in perspective with its silly ridiculous nature.
Power (Ari Gold) works at the copper mine with a father who barely acknowledges his existence (Michael McKean) and lives in a boarding house basement with his hippie aunt (Jane Lynch). Except when she rents the room and he?s forced to sleep in the yard. I haven?t seen talent wasted like this since Rip Torn played Freddy?s alleged fingerer. Fortunately, they aren?t given real characters. Rather, their performances look like Gold told them they were rehearsing and then used that as the actual shot.
Power is an air drummer. Well, I guess that?s the explanation for why he goes into rhythmless seizures over butt-rock soundtracks. With thick glasses and a penchant for sweatbands, Ari Gold looks like Bob Odenkirk hatefucked a butt-baby into the prolapsed sphincter of Spike Jonze, so agewise I suppose he?s supposed to be thirtydoesitmatter? After getting fired from the copper mining facility, Power finds a brochure for an underground air drumming battle in Mexico. After impressing a hook-handed stranger with his insane attempt to air drum Rush while not using a stool, Power decides to find the stranger?s air-drum training gym in Newark, NJ. If this seems abrupt and confusing, it?s because it is. The plot is hammered together like craft birdhouses at a summer camp for the blind. It would make sense if they were foregoing plot to accentuate the airdrumming (if the airdrumming was amusing or funny in any way whatsoever). Instead, Gold seems weirdly intent on making airdrumming as intense and import as the dodgeball in Dodgeball with the same fervor as those stupid twats who claim cheerleading is a sport.
Adrian Grenier offers up a five-second bright spot like a toddler cupping a firefly before squishing it into fading glowy paste. He plays Dallas Houston ? a billionaire country rapper who also drums. Grenier plays ?Dallas H? with all the Timberlakish B-boy strut he can muster, and it works for six minutes. Then like everything else, the joke gets stale, old, and dead, like a taxidermied family dog stuffed with Saltines instead of sawdust. Dallas H, against his rich daddy?s wishes, decides to enter the grand air drumming showdown in New York ? but only to show everyone how lame air drumming is. The fuck?
Anyway, Power arrives in Newark and immediately takes up residence in a Chinese food restaurant, after the owner chases away thugs who beat on him. The Chinese food joint is conveniently located beneath the love interest of the movie: Annie (Shoshannah Stern, ?Weeds?) ? the deaf daughter of a Christian missionary who hates rock music. Annie?s perfect for Power because she doesn?t hear music ? SHE FEELS IT. Annie?s deaf and Power lives in a Chinese food restaurant, so naturally when Annie speaks in that sort of nasally deaf patois, Power asks her if she?s Chinese. Not only is it racist, it?s also biased against the handicapped! When that joke falls flat, Gold?s stuck with the setting and characters. So it fits with the rest of the film like the rubber glove on a TSA checkpoint guard?s stubby hand.
Power joins a Rainbow Coalition of racial stereotypes on the Jersey Krew, an air drumming team. See, the air drumming competition isn?t just like some sort of karaoke showdown. You have to be part of a complicated convoluted stupid bullshit three-part production. It?s not just making funny faces and faking drum gestures to the Monsters of Rock CD. Lord, no. It?s about being part of a massive air drum set of drummers. That way they can make everything overdramatic and stupid before having a showdown between Dallas H, Power, and a third female drummer who looks like Fairuza Balk buffalo-billed Pink and wore her skin. It felt like the outtakes to a High School Musical warmup, performed by the Torrance Community Dance Group.
The film defies logic and humor in equal strides, like Paul Bunyan making lakes by stumbling around drunk and trying to piss on Babe the Blue Ox as a joke. Only, again, that might actually be funny. The most incredibly shameful part of the entire film is that in some sort of bastardized logic that probably makes perfect sense to the test-tube baby of Dodgeball Dynamite, the air drumming competition is inexplicably televised nationwide which allows Power?s performance to inspire the striking workers at the copper plant. There was a scene where strikers were beaten by riot geared storm troopers and made their stand by air drumming to Phil Collins? ?In The Air Tonight.? Oh, and Dallas H?s father owns the copper mine. None of that matters. It?s not a showdown to save the plant. But honestly, I don?t want to actually waste more time deconstructing the wet toilet paper-wrapped plot than I have to. Other than to warn you away from this. I wish I could have gotten to Neil Peart before he signed up for a cameo. Seriously, brother, you should have stayed animated and in the Aqua Teen movie. And if you don?t believe Ain?t It Cool News has sold out, they have a positive quote on the poster for this wretched abomination, calling it a hell of a good time. I hope that money bought you a comfy asspillow for your wheelchair.