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Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads

Although it often plays more like a feel-good infomercial than a substantial cinematic portrait, "Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads" scores a pleasing impact with spirited live performances by the Grammy Award-winning purveyors of "Texican rock 'n' roll." Limited theatrical rollout could generate small change, but pic is far better suited for cable and homevid venues.

Although it often plays more like a feel-good infomercial than a substantial cinematic portrait, “Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads” scores a pleasing impact with spirited live performances by the Grammy Award-winning purveyors of “Texican rock ‘n’ roll.” Limited theatrical rollout could generate small change, but pic is far better suited for cable and homevid venues.

It’s arguably premature to produce a documentary about a recording act with only one top-selling CD to its credit so far. But helmer Hector Galan wisely emphasizes the family ties and local color in this rags-to-riches story to provide an arresting and occasionally affecting narrative as counterpoint to the performance segs.

Pic charts the slow, steady progress of Mexican-American siblings Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza, from humble origins in San Angelo, Texas, to fame and fortune as Los Lonely Boys. As youngsters, they are actively encouraged, if not driven, to perform with their father, Enrique “Ringo” Garza Sr., who yearns to establish himself and his sons as the first Mexican-American country artists to take Nashville by storm. But after years of performing in small clubs and honkytonks throughout Texas and Tennessee, the brothers opt to branch out on their own, mixing pachuco panache and West Texas swagger while offering a uniquely tasty “musical burrito” of blues, rock and cajunto.

Even though Enrique Sr. repeatedly insists on camera that he is proud of his sons, Galan suggests the professional split between father and offspring may not have been entirely amicable. For the most part, though, “Cottonfields and Crossroads” aggressively accentuates the positive, in a style not unlike that of an authorized biography.

Pic touches on issues of racial prejudice and ethnic stereotyping — many Anglos, in Nashville and elsewhere, were openly mocking in their response to the Garzas as country-music stylists — but serves primarily as a showcase for the group’s powerhouse performances of “Heaven,” “Senorita” and the title tune.

Tech values are fine across the board.

Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads

  • Production: A Concho River Films production. Produced by Hector Galan, Evelyn Ledesma Galan. Directed by Hector Galan.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Gustavo Aguilar; editor, Jose Flores. Reviewed at SXSW Film Festival (24 Beats Per Second), Austin, Texas. March 17, 2006. Running time: 89 MIN.
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