Parents and friends turn away in embarrassment; even a deaf neighbor complains about the noise. Scarlet-faced and caught in the act, geeky air drummer Power (writer-director Gold) continues his cross-armed ritual (to Judas Priest’s “Hell Bent for Leather”), jerking out an exuberant sign language that even he doesn’t fully understand.
Adventures of Power, a huggable bit of indie fearlessness, will make you either cringe like those parents or rise up in a cheer, adding a star (or three) to the rating above. It creates a po-faced comic universe, thoroughly conceived, in which a New Mexico dreamer can wander South of the Border to illegal air-drumming pits, then head eastward to an exclusive dojo for the drum-deprived in Jersey. Power’s rival is a hip-hop cowboy celeb, Dallas Houston (Entourage’s Grenier, finely self-deprecating), who harbors an arm-swinging passion of his own, despite the stern warnings of his union-busting dad. There’s just enough plot here to get these two in a showdown. (Along the way comes what must be the year’s dorkiest soundtrack, featuring Dazz Band, Phil Collins and Mr. Mister.) Forgive the film its Napoleon Dynamite overquirk; a loving god is watching all, genuflected to on bedroom-wall posters and seen in the film’s final five minutes—and if you’re not a Rush fan, this is not your movie.