A love letter to the blues, "We Are Kings" is a spirited if technically wobbly feel-good road movie about a down-and-out musician named I Be King (Sammy Blue) on a quest to keep his club with a little out-of-body assistance from the apparition of his bedridden wife (blues belter and former Raelette, Rita Graham).
When the bank seizes their small-town Mississippi juke joint, bluesman King takes to the road in a rundown Winnebago, picking up a veritable band of young supporters along the way including a pair of homeless musicians (Jonathon "Boogie" Long and 2006 "America's Got Talent" winner Bianca Ryan) and an Internet-savvy runaway rapper (Pryce D. Watkins), all dealing with issues of their own.
Although director-writer Toby Hubner clearly has a soft spot for the characters' hand-to-mouth milieu, clunky dramatic staging and discordant emoting from his cast of non-actor musicians keep threatening to derail those good intentions.
But there's a palpable, soulful authenticity to the musical performances, which ultimately draw you in, lending credibility to King and his talented passengers' shared philosophy: "If you don't feel it in your heart, it can't possibly be the blues."
The film's heart is unmistakably in the right place — even when the camera isn't.
'We Are Kings'
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 16 minutes.