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Thundercraps of Lameness

By Brian Prisco | Film | October 23, 2009 |

By Brian Prisco | Film | October 23, 2009 |

I would sooner have drumsticks shoved into my peehole until I look like the breadstick centerpiece at a fancy Italian restaurant than sit through anything as godfuckingawful as this waste of celluloid and talent. When a “Mad TV” sketch fails, it runs for five or six minutes before finally going to commercial. This film is one bad extended tragic sketch stretched out over 90 interminable minutes with not a single redeemable moment in the entirety. The comparisons to Napoleon Dynamite are impossible to avoid: a quirky Southwestern weirdo unaccepted by his community tries to elicit change through bizarre performance art. But triple threat Ari Gold takes his film to ungodly nadirs — forsaking any sort of innocence or naivete for thundercraps of lameness. It’s Guitar Hero layered over a plot that even Adam Sandler’s cronies wouldn’t poop on. Ari Gold’s crapsterpiece has all the levity of Balloon Boy falling to his death on the Grand Marshall of a Breast Cancer Awareness march. Only you might accidentally laugh at that before feeling horrible. You can’t possibly make that mistake here.

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.

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