Just about every parent thinks their kids hung the moon and has the extensive collection of homevideos to prove it. Former thirtysomething star Polly Draper makes a convincing argument that her offspring actually do have talent with the whimsical new series “Naked Brothers Band.” Draper and her musician husband, Michael Wolff, take the home-movie concept one step further by teaming with Nickelodeon to introduce to the world Nat and Alex Wolff, the front men of the Naked Brothers Band.
Fully clothed and musically inclined, Nat (11) and Alex (8) are the undisputed stars of this mock rockumentary show. Plugged months in advance with an Internet push to rival that of “Snakes on a Plane,” the Naked Brothers Band already has swarms of young girls buzzing about the eponymous show.
The fake mythology of the band was established in Draper’s 2005 movie, which won the audience award at the Hampton Film Festival and debuted last week on Nick.
Truth is, Nat and Alex are actual musical prodigies (dad was bandleader for “The Arsenio Hall Show”). The fake stuff is that they formed a band in preschool, added their musical prodigy friends to the mix, made it big and burned out before Nat hit puberty. The series picks up with the band enjoying success a second time around.
Part “This Is Spinal Tap,” part “A Hard Day’s Night,” the band does its best to re-create the frenetic whimsy of the Monkees while maintaining its kid-like sensibilities. The plots are of little consequence and, like the Monkees, the show is an amalgam of silent movie shenanigans, musicvideos and cartoon-like antics.
Still, satire for kids is tricky business, especially when the target audience is still grappling with issues regarding truth and imagination vs. reality. This fake rock ‘n’ roll world these young kids are thrown into makes for a creative premise, but often puts the stars a little too close to adult situations.
While Draper handles these issues carefully, it still feels a little icky when former Nick and Disney stars are plastered on tabloids for being, well, plastered.
The physical comedy and grossout humor works, although at times, “Naked Brothers Band” can feel like an inside joke gone awry.
The songs, actually written by Nat, may not top the charts, but they’re far more tolerable than Kidz Bop and are hard to shake once the show is over.
Amazingly, all of the kids here real musicians. If Draper really wants to create a show business legacy, she should sell her secrets on how to get kids to practice their musical instruments.