A love quadrangle, a soup-slurping subplot and concern about global warming are the incongruous ingredients of “Polar Bears.” The fourth Naked Brothers movie, which will be shown on Nickelodeon Friday night, is clumsy but criticproof.
“Bears” spins off from the second season of “The Naked Brothers Band,” a Nickelodeon series that is a major draw among 6- to 14-year-old viewers. Then there are the two albums; the latest, “I Don’t Want to Go to School,” features songs from “Polar Bears.” The Naked Brothers — who in real life are Nat and Alex Wolff, the sons of the actress Polly Draper, who created the series, and the musician Michael Wolff (who plays the dad in the series) — are a franchise, an industry, a world unto themselves. It hardly matters that “Polar Bears” is impossible for an adult to watch without wincing.
The plot: Nat and Alex hop into their psychedelic tour bus and head to New Orleans with the rest of the band, and their baby sitter, to perform a concert. On the road Alex, who is 10, watches a DVD of Al Gore’s climate-change movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The documentary changes Alex, which is inconvenient for everybody else on the bus.
“O.K.,” he says, “who knew about gas and didn’t tell me?”
By the time the band gathers for a preconcert news conference, Alex is wearing a white suit with cutaway jacket and a top hat festooned with three stuffed polar bears. Fortunately, he is not the designated heartthrob. That would be his 13-year-old brother, Nat.
Nat is having his own troubles; he is in love with Rosalina (Allie DiMeco), a member of the band, and thinks she is in love with someone else, who is actually in love with someone else again. At issue is Nat’s habit of slurping his soup, behavior that is demonstrated far too often and is never funny.
Besides romantic problems the boys must deal with “the stupid press,” as Alex calls a horde of animal-like reporters who willfully misinterpret Alex’s comment that the band is “bigger than Santa Claus.” Echoes of John Lennon’s comment about the Beatles and Jesus are deliberate, and will sail over the head of the band’s true audience members, who, borne aloft by the soft pop sounds of “Eventually” and “Why” (all songs are written and performed by the Wolff brothers), will find this modest movie as pleasing as previous Naked Brothers products.
THE NAKED BROTHERS BAND
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