The kids these days, are they still into 1970s punk? It would appear to be the case in Peter Livolsi’s comedy The House of Tomorrow, which combines old-school punk music with the work of futurist architect Buckminster Fuller into a film structured of interlocking elements that never quite convince, but which are nice to look at. Sebastian (Asa Butterfield) is an orphaned teenager who’s grown up inside one of Fuller’s 1950s geodesic domes with his grandmother Josephine (Ellen Burstyn), who hopes Sebastian will someday continue Bucky’s work.
Sebastian’s world opens up when he becomes friends with fellow teenager Jared (Alex Wolff), a punk rocker who chafes against the rules set by his recently divorced father Alan (Nick Offerman, costumed as Ron Swanson in Tammy 1 mode). The rules are in force because Jared’s had a heart transplant and has to avoid stress, such as the stress that comes with forming a punk band with Sebastian behind Josephine and Alan’s backs. There’s something in The House of Tomorrow about the way the teenager’s lives are dominated (by choice or not) by aesthetic movements from decades before they were born that doesn’t quite ring true — especially Jared’s specific fondness for The Germs — but Butterfield and Wolff’s terrific chemistry more than makes up for it. Those crazy kids have a bright tomorrow.
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.