After building a modest rep for Jarmusch-style deadpan comedies, Nippon helmer Nobuhiro Yamashita seems to be bidding for more mainstream success at home with “Linda Linda Linda.” But this aimless, lifeless time-killer about four teenage girls prepping for their rock-band gig in a school talent show proves entirely the wrong choice. Evincing no enthusiasm for youth pic conventions, and no new ideas either, pic is likely to disappoint even the least discerning J-pop consumers at home and abroad.
Having to recruit a new singer on short notice, drummer Kyoto (Aki Maeda from “Battle Royale”), guitarist Kei (Yu Kashii) and bassist Nozumi (Shiori Sekine) choose Korean exchange student Son (Doona Bae of “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”), though her comprehension of Japanese is rough. Very mild tribulations, some boyfriend-related, ensue before the rehearsal-exhausted quartet almost oversleep their big end-of-term-festival moment. They just make it, and the crowd (natch) goes wild. Unless seeing cute Japanese girls in school uniforms pounding skins and wielding guitars can float your boat for two long hours, this technically OK but incident-free pic will induce sleep. Punk-pop tunes covered (from late Nippon unit the Blue Hearts) are catchy.