Should’ve kept up with the piano lessons,” cracks an injured motocross biker from his hospital bed, and for a moment, we get an alternate-universe flash of Supercross. It would be called Ultrakeys, sponsored by Steinway, and set in the world of high-stakes, full-contact Rachmaninoff. Hey, it could work. After all, a brand-encrusted infomercial like Supercross (bankrolled by a cartel that includes youth-pop merchant Lou Pearlman and sportsertainment conglomerate Clear Channel) doesn’t really derive its ”drama” from the sport it’s pimping. Substitute NASCAR, break dancing, or backgammon: It’s always the story of a diamond in the rough (Steve Howey), his wingman/brother (Mike Vogel), and the gals (Cameron Richardson and Sophia Bush) who sidecar their own dreams and plotlines to help their guys Win the Big One, while footage fit for ESPN6 unspools. Vogel, a scruffy hipster hobbit, is the standout: As Trip Carlyle, maverick younger brother to Howey’s cautious K.C., he passes (on this film’s relaxed terms) for a lazy James Dean and lends some limber fun to a venture so clearly boardroom-born.
Amusingly, Supercross puts up a fierce anticorporate front, lauding the self-financed ”privateer” over the ”factory” cyclist. If this is a joke, few will get it; newbies will be too busy decrypting all the moto-jargon. Luckily, the camera, caressing gleaming spokes and toned groupie hindquarters with equal ardor, speaks the international language of trash: Get the girl, win the race, spin some mud in some dude’s face.