(director/writer: Brett Haley; screenwriter: Marc Basch; cinematographer: Eric Lin; editor: Patrick Colman; music: Keegan Dewitt; cast: Nick Offerman (Frank Fisher), (Sam Fisher), Ted Danson (Dave), Blythe Danner (Marianne Fisher), Toni Collette (Leslie), Sasha Lane (Rose); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Houston King, Sam Bisbee, Sam Slater; Gunpowder & Sky; 2018)

An innocuous but earnest coming-of-age rock-band fantasy film.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An innocuous but earnest coming-of-age rock-band fantasy film that’s adequately directed by Brett Haley (“The Hero”/”I’ll See You in My Dreams”). It tries its best to use charm to avoid drivel over the bonding of an aging hipster father and his sweet daughter. Too bad it’s co-written in a formulaic and clunky way by Haley and Marc Basch.

The middle-aged widower Frank (Nick Offerman), the frustrated slacker rocker wannabe, is the owner for the last 17 years of a used vinyl-record store in the gentrified Red Hook section of Brooklyn and raises alone for the last 11 years, after his wife’s fatal bike accident, a smart teenage girl, Sam (Kiersey Clemons). She’s also a great singer who will after the summer enroll in UCLA as a pre-med major. Before departing for college, the guitar-playing dad closes his struggling store and makes a home-record with his daughter that gets promoted online when dad, unbeknownst to his daughter, uploads it to Spotify and it gets onto its weekly playlist. Thereby he puts together a band and tries to convince his daughter to be the lead singer. Ted Danson is the friendly local bartender. Blythe Danner plays Frank’s clueless shoplifting mom. Toni Collette, great as usual, plays dad’s flirty landlady. Sasha Lane plays an aspiring artist named Rose, the romantic interest of Kiersey. Haley seems to be having fun using diegetic music (music whose source is visible onscreen), as the music gives the film an edge by being decent.

The pic, for all its cringe-worthy moments, is to be applauded for taking a realistic course and not going for the easy uplifting story of them becoming a hit band. Instead the daughter, with dad’s backing, goes to the Left Coast to pursue her career dreams of becoming a doctor and dad rocks on after realizing his aspirations now seem ridiculous.

REVIEWED ON 6/30/2018 GRADE: B-   https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”