Sundance Review: Adventures of Power

Before we begin, I would like to throw out some reference movies for you: Napoleon Dynamite, Hot Rod, Dodgeball and Air Guitar Nation. If you did not like any of these films, then you need not read any further. Ari Gold’s feature directorial debut Adventures of Power seems to be an amalgam of all 4 of these films.

It begins with Ari Gold playing Power, a maladjusted loser in his 30’s (at least, that is how old he appears) who lives in his aunt’s basement and dreams of being the world’s greatest air drummer. He lives in the town of Lode, New Mexico where his father is about to lead all the workers in the coal mine in a strike against a ruthless corporation. When his quest leads him to Newark, New Jersey, Power discovers that not only is there a place for him in the world, but he also may just have the power (pun intended) to save the day.

The movie starts with an opening title sequence that looks like something out of a cheap 1970s porn film, yet it is set to 80’s rock. The instant Power shows up on the screen, dancing around and rocking out on his air drums, Napoleon Dynamite popped into my head. There was no way around it. And at that point the silliness was enough to make me laugh, but not for long.

As the film progresses, Power’s antics continue to become more infantile and the movie loses its flavor. Even though Power moves through the standard formula — meet a mentor, who in this cast is Steven Williams (The Fear Chamber), a rough and tough fro-ed out Jersey boy with hooks for arms (see where I got the Dodgeball reference?); he also meets a deaf girl who sees him for who he really is (played by Shoshannah Stern); and finally he ends up having to match wits against his arch nemesis, which is the pop singing cowboy son of the man who owns all the copper mines (played by Adrian Grenier).

It is silly, it is stupid and unfortunately it is a completely lame duck. The thing that made movies like Napoleon Dynamite and Dodgeball work is that they have a bit of charm that wins us over, no matter how dumb the premise. Adventures of Power has that charm for about 10 minutes then allows it to fizzle away.

Grade: D+

Keep an eye on our Sundance 2008 Homepage for more from Park City.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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