(Above: Jeff Auer in ‘The Incoherents.’ Source: YouTube video)
(Editor’s note: The Incoherents, a comedy-drama about the reunion of a 1990s indie rock band, is now available to stream for $4.99 from Amazon, iTunes and other sources.)
A Robert Plant lookalike shrieks incoherently to thunderous applause. He then heads backstage as groupies swarm and offer him drugs.
We have just entered the hazy daydream of a 40-something father reliving his 20-something rock star escapades.
Bruce (Jeff Auer) is having a mid-life crisis. His is a humdrum path — all work, no play and no passion. It’s official: Time for Bruce and the band (Alex Emanuel, Walter Hoffman and Casey Clark) to get back together.
That is how things kick-off in The Incoherents, an enjoyable ride powered by the band’s grunge rock sound (all their songs were written by Auer and Emanuel), something akin to Pearl Jam or Candlebox. The musicians do the dank club circuit, hoping for a resurgence of ’90s nostalgia amidst performances by youthful, up-and-coming artists.
Bruce’s expectations for the band’s first gig after decades of not practicing or even communicating seem naïve. He is also distraught by the lack of an audience. Moments like these throughout the film strain credibility. Yes, The Incoherents is a fun watch, but also nonsensical.
Bruce is married to Liz (Kate Arrington). Despite Arrington’s earnest and sincere portrayal, her character is sadly underrepresented, as are their children (a mere afterthought, actually), as well as Bruce’s band mates. Everyone in the story simply exists to support Bruce.
In one scene, Bruce prepares to leave work after logging five hours of overtime. He tells his boss George (Robert G. McKay) that he has a gig that could change his life. George is visibly chagrined. A gig? He thought Bruce spent all his free time on the golf course.
“You don’t really play golf, do you?”
That exchange is worth a few giggles, as it underscores what seems to be the film’s key takeaway: ‘Are you charging after your dream or just playing golf?’
The cast also includes Annette O’Toole, Amy Carlson, Margaret Anne Florence and Christine Chang.