THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"THE HISTORY OF FUTURE FOLK"
It's pretty safe to say that you've never seen a movie quite like The History of Future Folk. I sure hadn't. The film, which was a popular entry at last year's Fantastic Fest, is a science-fiction/comedy/musical about the formation of an interplanetary folk band. That may sound weird, but one of the best things about the picture is that, rather than dazzling you with over-the-top eccentricity, it takes a more subtle approach.
Nils d'Aulaire plays Bill, a devoted husband and father living in New York City. Well, actually he only pretends to be Bill. He's actually General Trius, sent to Earth from the planet Hondo to unleash a plague that will kill our inhabitants so that his people can move here. Once on Earth, though, he heard music for the first time, became enamored of it, and decided it wasn't worth it to wipe everyone out. Because he hasn't completed his mission, another operative, Kevin (Jay Klaitz), is sent to get rid of Trius. He, too, hears music and falls in love. The two, under the name Future Folk, then take to performing – in full space gear – at a local bar, where enthusiastic patrons think they are a comedy act. Their songs include memorable ditties such as “Space Worms” and “Moons of Hondo.”
Many films that mash up different genres try to beat you over the head with forced attempts at wackiness. You can almost feel them intentionally trying to manufacture cult status. The History of Future Folk doesn't do that. Instead, it plays everything completely straight and low-key, allowing the humor to just naturally emanate from the story and characters. This willingness to underplay gives the movie a surprising sense of warmth and an abundance of charm. One of the best scenes finds Kevin doing an erotic tango with a female police officer he's trying to romance. The laugh doesn't come from a space alien attempting to seduce a woman; it comes from the fact that Kevin is a pretty good dancer who is admirably seizing his moment. Scenes such as this allow The History of Future Folk to be more than just a lark.
Admittedly, the movie is slight, with only a bare-bones plot about whether the two will be able to save Earth. But who cares? Nils d'Aulaire and Jay Klaitz are winning, the songs are pretty catchy, and the comedy is as good-natured as it is effective. I found myself somewhat enchanted by these visitors from Hondo. I'd love to see their future exploits depicted in a sequel.
Note: The History of Future Folk is in limited theatrical release, opening in Los Angeles on June 7. It will additionally be available on VOD starting June 4. Look for it!
( out of four)
The History of Future Folk is unrated but contains some adult humor. The running time is 1 hour and 26 minutes.
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