“My Uncle Rafael”
Music By Joey Newman & Chris Westlake
La-La Land Records LLLCD 1231
25 Tracks – 40:30 Grade: C-
My Uncle Rafael is a quirky indie comedy about a desperate TV producer Damon (John Michael Higgins, Yes Man & Still Waiting) who convinces his 71 year-old Armenian Uncle Rafael (Vahik Pirhamzei in a duel role) to star in a new reality show as he’s thrown into the household of the Schumacher’s family (where he has one week to save a broken and dysfunctional American family from falling apart and the only rule from his tell it how it is Uncle is that everyone must follow his rules or else. The film directed by Marc Fusco, who made the intriguing drama, Stealing Time starring Peter Facinelli, Ethan Embry and Jennifer Garner co-stars Missi Pyle, Rachel Blanchard and Anthony Clark.
Adding to the film’s quirky premise is the musical score by the team of Joey Newman and Chris Westlake, that utilizes a traditional and flavorable Armenian sound along with a contemporary sound. Newman, who’s the youngest sibling in the famous Hollywood musical family royalty that includes Thomas Newman, David Newman and famous songwriter and singer, Randy Newman all of whom have been nominated or won an Oscar or Grammy for their work. While Westake, who’s the co-composing partner on the hit show, Little People, Big World collaborated together to create the flavorable sound of this rather eccentric man, Uncle Raphael and the happenings of this reality television that he’s now surrounded in.
The film opens with Main Title which establishes the score’s primary theme which is a flavorable Armeanian sound that sets up the lighter and quirky comidic moments (Hamo’s Coffee Shop, Talkin’ Reality Show. Meet The Schumachers, Scheming, Hamo’s Data Seduction). There are also some nice and poignant moments in the score that mix brings out the tender aspects of the material (Father & Son, Rafael’s Video Message, Everybody Needs An Uncle) that are the highlights of this score and the album that really do work quite well. My major problem with this score is that while there are some solid moments like i’ve highlighted here, there are just too many that repeat themselves and the sound wears quite thin after a while. I like quirky comedy scores like the ones Aaron Zigman and Joey’s brother David write, but even after a while you do grow tired of them for the simple reason of repetition. That’s always has been the problem with most comedy scores for a long long time. My Uncle Raphel is a very decent score that does have a theme to be fond of, but really does wear thin after a while. It is a noble effort by two solid composers on top of their game. A reluctant thumbs down.