The Incoherents is a charming, if somewhat cheesy and predictable, comedy that follows four forty-something men who attempt to revive their dreams of rock stardom by reuniting their old band.
Directed by Jared Barel and written by Jeff Auer (who also plays the band’s lead singer-turned-suburban dad Bruce), The Incoherents is a decent effort for a first feature film. However, the movie occasionally feels formulaic and it’s about fifteen minutes longer than it really needs to be – a few montages and musical numbers could’ve used a trim. Auer is likeable as Bruce, though he’s outshone by Alex Emanuel (Black Wake) as disgruntled lead guitarist Jimmy and Vincent Lamberti as The Jules, The Incoherents’ withered manager.
The Incoherents isn’t exactly subtle about working the nostalgia angle, with cinematography that often resembles an early 90s music video. It was clear to me from the first few minutes that I am far from this film’s target demographic; I’m a woman, for one thing, and I was four years old in 1995. The Incoherents is clearly directed at an audience that can relate to its protagonists, and I’m sure Gen X men in their forties will “get” this story in a way that I never could. Still, I think it speaks in the film’s favour that it managed to make me laugh out loud. For all its imperfections, The Incoherents is genuinely funny. There is a warmth to this film that surprised me; given the premise one might expect it to rely on the audience’s aged hipster music knowledge – but it doesn’t. This is a movie that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. It mocks middle-aged masculinity, while at the same time laughing at the very idea of rock as an exclusive club of cool.
I like a comedy that isn’t completely brainless, and The Incoherents makes an intelligent distinction between art itself, and the wealth and fame that are often associated with artistic success. At its heart, this film reminds us that rock ‘n roll is for everyone, not just the young and trendy. That said, there is nothing in The Incoherents that begs to be remembered. If you’re looking for stick-in-your-guts cinema, I’d look elsewhere.
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