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The Notorious Newman Brothers (2009)

The Notorious
Newman Brothers


The Notorious Newman Brothers is a no- budget film staring the notorious Butler Brothers and actor / director Ryan Noel.  The film is made to look like a gangster documentary gone terribly wrong.  Previously, the Butler Brothers (Brett and Jason) have delivered a couple of short films and the feature Confusions of an Unmarried Couple which have all received astounding praise from every reviewer that I've seen review the films.  From what I've been reading, it looks like The Notorious Newman Brothers has been just as well received.  However, it's important to point out that even though this film stars the Butler Brothers and is filmed in a very similar dialog-driven style as their previous works, it's actually not a Butler Brothers film, it's a Ryan Noel film.  Ryan (who has worked with the Butlers in the past) produced, directed, edited, co-stared and co-wrote the film.

The film follows a desperate aspiring documentary filmmaker, Max (played by Ryan Noel), a character that reminds me of an even more annoying version of Woody Allen.  Max has placed an ad in the paper looking for someone to be the subject of his documentary film.  His only reply is from the world's worst (and loudest) gangsters, Paulie and Thunderclap Newman.  Whether they're trying to sell bootlegged DVDs to video store customers or not paying their teenage drug dealers for their under-stuffed dime bags, the Notorious Newman Brothers are about as gangster as a Christian rapper...and twice as loud.

There isn't much in the way of story because each scene is primarily a vehicle for attempts at humorous dialog, but the basic plot revolves around Max's attempt at making the documentary  while following around and learning about the Newman Brothers.  Although the film is only 85 minutes (typically a good length of a no-budget film), it feels like most of the scenes drag on longer than they should.  Most likely the flow of the conversations while filming made it difficult to edit much of the scenes down, but the end result is film that I thought could have been better.  However, judging from the other reviews that I've read, I seem to be in the minority.  Overall, The Notorious Newman Brothers appears to be a grand slam with most reviewers, so maybe I'm just missing something.

The filming itself was very well done for this style of film (which I would describe as a cross between the mocumentary delivery of This Is Spinal Tap, the reality style filming The Blair Witch Project, and low-budget, dialog driven humor of Clerks).  All three of the primary actors latched on to their characters with great tenacity and did not let go for a second.  So my only real problem is with the way that the film seems to drag as a result of the long sections between humorous dialog.  Without question, my favorite part of the movie was a hilarious, almost completely random, three second scene of a wizard sculpture screwing a Barbie doll.  There is also a relatively interesting twist at the end of the film.  Overall, I think that the film is well made enough that it's worth watching if you are a fan of loud, reality style humor.

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Gore-o-meter rating: 0 out of 5
(no gore)

Skin-o-meter: 0 out of 5 (3 second sex scene with a Barbie doll and a wizard sculpture)