As you can probably tell, the film isn’t exactly revelatory. It’s a by-the-numbers underdog story, bolstered by an infectiously joyous spirit and admirable energy. Those with fond memories of 1990’s bands like Soundgarden and Pixies will especially respond to the nostalgic vibes. Barel studies the paradigm shift, how millennials replaced those live music acts, making them a subgenre of a niche market. The Incoherents is ultimately about being okay with leaving the past in the past.
The central performances are all surprisingly lived-in. There’s real chemistry between the bandmates, and tenderness in Bruce’s relationship with Liz. Kudos to Barel and Auer for not making Arrington’s character another “obligatory supporting wife.” Liz pursues her ambitions, arguing that they matter just as much as her husband’s. I do wish this theme was examined with a little more depth, but the charisma of the actors goes a long way in redeeming the slightly underdeveloped storyline.
“…the charisma of the actors goes a long way…”
Auer has a good ear for dialogue. “You ever smell the excrement of a heroin addict?” a studio owner asks. “Twice,” Keith replies, before receiving a fist bump. Balancing comedy with drama is a difficult feat to pull off, but Barel and Auer manage to do it, if just.
My biggest issue with the film is that the music itself is mediocre at best. Yes, I know that such things are highly subjective. It may be enjoyable enough in the moment but evaporates from your mind shortly after experiencing it (the jarringly-edited concert sequences don’t help matters). The same can be said of The Incoherents as a whole – a charming relic from the past. It may not be incoherent, but it’s not quite indelible either.
"…a by-the-numbers underdog story, bolstered by an infectiously joyous spirit..."