Sweet atmosphere and good-natured humor fail to go the distance in “Brat Rock,” an upbeat yarn about four wannabe rock stars and their financially compromised muse. Knockabout comedy is imbued with characteristic Japanese sentimentality, signaling a predominantly Asian B.O. life. Local business was small, though film is set to continue its tour of Asian-themed fests. Helmer Tetsu Maeda cut his teeth as assistant director on “Shall We Dance?”
Sugary intro depicts four boys swearing eternal devotion to their female muse, Hiromi, who is leaving Osaka with her parents. Pic cuts to the boys grown up and now comprising the gawky Gakincho Rock band, which buoyantly plays power pop to empty nightclubs. When they discover a pop star has ripped off their songs, the quartet sets out to redress the balance. The adult Hitomi (angelic Yumi Shimuzu) arrives to spur them on, but also reveals her impending marriage to a suspicious businessman. As per the boys’ childhood oath, protecting Hiromi overrides the band’s musical ambitions — with comic but eventually wearing results. Lively songs and cheerful performances give proceedings a temporary boost, but script is awkwardly constructed.