The Austin Chronicle

Adventures of Power

Rated PG-13, 89 min. Directed by Ari Gold. Starring Ari Gold, Michael McKean, Jane Lynch, Shoshannah Stern, Chi Ling Chiu, Adrian Grenier.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 23, 2009

With the goofy confidence of a latter-day Napoleon Dynamite, a young man in New Mexico elects to follow his dream. Power (played by writer/director Gold) lives to be an air drummer, something his fellow workers in the sleepy copper-mining town neither understand nor tolerate. Yet nothing stops Power from thrashing his imaginary drumsticks through the air; he is in step with his own drumbeat, a rhythm that no one else hears. His father, Harlan (McKean), could never afford to buy him a real drum set, and Power lives with his free-spirited aunt (Lynch). Harlan is now leading a workers' strike at the copper plant where Power has been fired for air-drumming when he should have been paying attention to his job. Salvation comes when a notice that advertises an air-drumming competition in Mexico falls from the sky. Power hightails it across the border, and then to Newark, N.J., where the nation’s top air-drumming team works out. Finally, ensconced among his own kind, Power meets Annie (Stern), a deaf girl who really feels his drumming. Power’s nemesis is Dallas Houston (Grenier), a billionaire cowboy drummer who takes up air-drumming for a lark. Of course, there’s an eventual showdown between the two, and everything ends predictably. Except, that is, for the violent goons who break up the strike in New Mexico, adding a harsh touch to an otherwise silly comedy. Adventures of Power strives for an offbeat charm which, sadly, never really comes across. Gold (not to be confused with the fictional Ari Gold of Entourage) is well known for a couple of brilliantly realized short films, “Helicopter” and “Culture.” Adventures of Power, however, falls terribly short of the shorts’ immaculate execution. Not even the always reliable talents of McKean and Lynch can help pull this comedy out of its ironic slump.

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