Cobie Smulders stars as a washed-up rock star in the largely improvised “Alright Now,” directed by Jamie Adams, a film that takes “Spinal Tap” as an inspiration for an unconventional romantic comedy of a woman finding herself as she breaks down.
Smulders is Joanne Star, the lead singer of late-’90s rock band Filthy Dukes. She’s American but found success in England, where she’s mounting a lackluster comeback tour, despite meager audiences and the protestations of her bandmates. Her manager-boyfriend Larry (Noel Clarke) pulls the plug on the tour as well as their relationship, and the band breaks up. Joanne, at loose ends, finds solace with her old friend Sara (Jessica Hynes), crashing in her camper.
Impulsively, the two wild friends decide to enroll in a university, which is really just an excuse to party like they’re in college. Joanne runs into Peter (Richard Elis), an unassuming fan that she met in a bar, at her lowest moment, who happens to work at the school. Poor Pete gets caught up in Joanne’s mania, a distraction from her pain and insecurity.
Elis brings a level of sweetness and humility to Pete that balances Joanne’s cynical and reckless lifestyle. Though he’s initially an unlikely pawn in a sexual competition between Joanne and Sara, Elis, he grounds the swirling silliness in a recognizable reality. While “Alright Now” threatens to spin off its foundations with all of its crazy, loose energy, the central relationship keeps the story on track.
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes