If nothing else, "Sons of Provo" makes you want to watch "This is Spinal Tap" all over again to see how this sort of thing should be done.
This locally made musical "mockumentary" from some of the people involved in "The Singles Ward" is clearly trying to mine laughs from the same kind of material as "Spinal Tap." And "Sons of Provo" is amusing but only in spurts.
The film's title refers to Everclean, a fictional Utah County trio led by singing brothers Will and Danny Jensen (Will Swenson and Danny Tarasevich). The group has recently lost a member and is in the audition process to find his replacement.
Of the hopefuls, the standout is clearly Kirby Layborne (Mormon-cinema stalwart Kirby Heyborne), a naive scrapbooking specialist who definitely has the musical talent, if not the dedication they're looking for. Unfortunately, that also puts him in the middle of a power struggle between the brothers, which only worsens when Will tries to take their music in a somewhat "edgier" new direction.
There are also subplots involving the various band managers, including Will and Danny's cousin (Peter Brown, who co-wrote the screenplay) and one of Kirby's ex-girlfriends (Jennifer Erekson). Neither of those characters or their respective situations are as funny as they should be.
The first and funniest third of the movie suggests the filmmakers might really be on to something. However, the middle third is more scattershot, with fewer genuinely funny gags. And by the final third, the film has become much too serious for its own good, ending on a false note.
And there's not nearly enough music. That's a huge mistake, because the boy-band parody songs with a decided LDS edge are easily the most amusing aspect of the movie.
Also, the film falls into the same trap as most other LDS comedies, with too-specific-to-the-culture jokes that only Mormons will understand, and supposedly funny cameos, a cliche of the genre.
Still, the three lead actors do have their moments, especially Heyborne, who's as likable as ever and has a surprisingly good singing voice (as evidenced by his performance of the song "Beautiful Inside").
"Sons of Provo" is rated PG for scattered use of mild profanity and some creative use of curse-word "alternatives," some mildly vulgar humor involving bodily functions, and some slapstick violence (including some brawling). Running time: 93 minutes.
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