“Begin Again” Shows More Bonding Among Music Makers

imageLightning does not strike twice for Once writer/director John Carney as he brings his wounded souls bonding over music motifs Stateside in the NYC-set drama Begin Again (B-). Mark Ruffalo is a down-on-his-luck producer and Keira Knightley the unlucky-in-love songstress who catches his attention. Together the maven and his muse create an album on the streets of New York and rediscover their stride. It’s often affecting and means perfectly well, but the music never rises to the level nor the milieu to the moment to render a result as uncommon as its makers seem to imagine. Carney coaxes viewers a bit into the fact they’re watching a musical; and this camouflaged concoction filled with recording sessions, crooning and concert sequences occasionally swells to its raison d’être. Ruffalo and Knightly are charming as the chaste protagonists, and Adam Levine is serviceable in the role of a rock star on the rise. Other supporting cast members are given short shrift and are as misplaced as Manhattan by a director who better staged a similar tale among the buskers of Dublin.