Nickelodeon // 2007 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 3rd, 2007
Real brothers, real music, not really naked.
And the winner for most misleading title of a kids show? It would have to Nickelodeon's The Naked Brothers Band which sounds more twisted than what ends up on screen. The name comes from when the kids started playing they were so young the lads wore diapers rather than clothes. The official name of the band is Silver Boulders when they break big, but for some reason the whole "Naked Brothers" moniker seemed to stick because frankly it's more catchy. The show is a satire about young musicians rising to the top done in the mockumentary style. If you're still at a loss for a description, think This is Spinal Tap for the preteen set. Nickelodeon pushed this new series with more Internet hype than Snakes on a Plane got, and somehow out of their marketing efforts we have a Monkees for this millennium made from kids that are under twelve (at least at the start).
The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie chronicles the roots of the band's meteoric rise to fame. The stars are musical prodigies Nat and Alex Wolff. Their father, Michael Wolff, was the leader of the band for Arsenio Hall's talk show. They help write their songs (such as "Crazy Car" and "Motormouth"), so the band cranks out goofy-yet-catchy riffs accompanied by lyrics that would come from a half pint rocker. At least they're deeper than anything released in the last few years from Britney Spears, but the music will go over better with kids than with adults. The musical group is rounded out by about a half dozen kids, and occasionally some adult support when needed.
The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie is constructed from interviews and "backstage" footage of the band as they romp around playing different rooms for adoring fans. Celebrity cameos are contributed by Cyndi Lauper, Uma Thurman, Julianne Moore, and Arsenio Hall, who all are great sports and in on the joke. There's very little plot and the satire gets strange when the material drifts too close to the adult world. There's a management struggle, a splintering of the band, security issues, and even attacks by the media. Yet the film recognizes the need for the kids to be kids, and for the most part the gang stays true to their schoolyard roots.
The DVD is presented in a basic, fullscreen, stereo transfer without many bells or whistles. The only extras are a karaoke video for "Crazy Car" and a making-of segment. It all looks fine, although like any mockumentary the quality varies from sequence to sequence to make it feel authentic. It's competently presented, if stripped down. I wish we could have gotten a commentary, or at least a segment which shows us the real kids behind The Naked Brothers Band. Included with the DVD is a promo CD which gathers five tracks from the movie for your listening pleasure.
For a kids flick, The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie is cute and charming. Kids will like it, and parents might be amused when they recognize the Spinal Tap inspiration. The music is goofy, but I admit it is rather catchy and you'll have a hard time shaking it out of your head. If you survived the '90s you might shudder as visions of The Spice Girls dance before your head, especially with all the "kid power" sensibility. Yet for the preteen set this should be a pretty good disc. I wonder if they'll get the irony? Perhaps for them the false sensation is even better than the real thing. Especially these days, when pop singers are often doomed for rehab. The Naked Brothers are safe because their only addiction is to Sprite and goofy lyrics.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Crazy Car" Karaoke Music Video
* Making of Featurette