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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I ran across this film's trailer on the IFC ONdemand website while
trying to track down another film. I happened to check the Ondemand
last night and had to watch it. I had no idea what to expect, hadn't
heard any word of mouth or any reviews...definitely not disappointed.
It's the story of two brothers who, as it turns out, discover they aren't really brothers and their road trip to the adoption agency that landed them with the parents they've always known. It's really about the friendship (and utter lack of friendship) of these two young men. Quirky is an understatement, as we follow them across several states, first with one brother's girlfriend in tow (she's soon gone, and it's just the two of them).
There were some uncomfortable parts- the deal with the freeze out was just bizarre and unfunny...it didn't match the rest of the movie in some aspect's of the main character's persona. It felt weird to me. The immature brother was over the top, but not so much that you didn't believe it- we've all met people close to this level of annoying and childish, but this guy takes the cake. Madcap adventures ensue, and we get some good bonding between two brothers who aren't actually brothers at all. When you grow up together, you become brothers and stay brothers, even when you find out you were adopted and you have no idea who your "real" parents are.
Great acting here throughout, and there's some really nice scenery. Direction is done well, and there's not a lot of that characteristic low budget stuff where the camera op constantly walks around the scene, lending that documentary feel when it's not needed. This was all pretty solid stuff, and you even get some decent effects scenes with the king Arthur stuff (another quirky side story, don't ask).
Totally recommend this one. The Duplass brothers' movies immediately came to mind, and in fact Steve Zissis (from Baghead) has a small role in the film. This is definitely one to add to your mumblecore collection.
I viewed this flick because it was FREE on the Comcast 'on-demand menu. It surprises me that it didn't open in theaters and come out on DVD. And why didn't it become a hit with the twenty-something crowd. I had no prior knowledge of the film, but the story line was continuously tense and brutally funny and the acting was grade A+. If you have any experience with sibling rivalry (especially between males), this movie will have you snickering nervously and occasionally laughing out loud. The only scene that might have been deleted from the movie was the puerile scene where they compete via a 'freeze-out' in the car. Otherwise the humor, acting, & directing were quite good. For a synopsis of the plot, you might check the other reviews.
Man I love this movie.
One of the hardest things for a truly independent filmmaker at a festival is competing with the high-profile titles. I try to balance what I watch when I'm in a festival environment, known and unknown, and sometimes it really pays off. I like taking a chance on something you've never heard of starring no one you know written and directed by a name that's totally unfamiliar to you. And I like when I'm rewarded for it.
John Bryant's "The Overbrook Brothers," from a screenplay co-written by Jason Foxworth, is one of those lovely surprises, a strong, consistent, occasionally ugly comedy about sibling rivalry taken to a punishing extreme, adoption, identity, and maturity. It's of the current school of the uncomfortable, comedy that is about a sort of unbearable reality. Mark Reeb and Nathan Harlan play Todd and Jason, brothers who have been locked in a sort of hyper-exaggerated Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner rivalry that reduces both of them to six-year-olds every time they're together.
This flick would play perfectly with Awful Nice, another recent SXSW comedy about sibling rivalry. Add Darjeeling Limited and you've got yourself a fine triple feature.
Find this movie if you can. It won't disappoint.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Overbrook Brothers' didn't knock my socks off but it is a
convincing and unobtrusively shot portrayal of a combative fraternal
The story: brothers Jason and Todd (Nathan Harlan and Mark Reeb) discover that they're both adopted and embark on a road trip to the adoption agency in order to track down their birth parents. Jason is a nice enough guy who plods through life, Todd is an obnoxious jerk who's way too fond of himself, and while it's not too difficult to predict the emotional end point when the road trip begins, the antagonism is well drawn and well performed.
Almost too well in places: Todd is such an insufferable tool that it's hard to know whether to laugh or wince. Maybe that's the point. I spent most of the film feeling sorry for Jason; the scene where Todd scrawls all over the notes for Jason's novel is one of pure horror, and the Christmas dinner where Todd reveals the big family secret is cruel and mortifying. The movie occasionally takes off into obviously comic territory: the brothers roll down the car windows, douse themselves in water and see who can stand the winter air the longest; and a snake bites Todd in the last place you'd want to be bitten by a snake. It's funny stuff, and the movie could have done with a bit more of it to take the edge off the worst of Todd's behaviour.
But I believed in them as characters and I was interested enough to follow their story through to an ending with a satisfying mixture of closure and unanswered questions. Nothing too special, then, but certainly worth a look.
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