A girl with a guitar, a roommate without a job and a drummer with a crush make up the boho trio at the center of "The Crumbles," writer-director Akira Boch's low-key multiethnic rock 'n' roll doodle about the ups and downs of Echo Park artistic strivers.
Darla (Katie Hipol) works at a bookstore and dreams of rock glory, so when flighty keyboardist friend Elisa (Teresa Michelle Lee) crashes on her couch after a bad breakup, the pair start the titular band. That's about it, really, save for Elisa's party-hearty flakiness irritating Darla, flirtations between the gals and Jeff Torres' lanky, sad-eyed drummer, and occasional visits with the neighbors making a microbudget sci-fi movie. But the modest rhythms of small-time dreamers work in Boch's favor, when augmented by his elegant framing and affectionate location shooting among the L.A. neighborhood's sloping streets and hill-perched hipster enclaves.
Hipol in particular is a winning tour guide, although Lee is a little too on-the-nose as a certain type of nerve-grating indefinite houseguest. "The Crumbles" never threatens to dampen the general enthusiasm with anything too twentysomething-existential, which may turn off hard-core indie realists who want a tale of art forged by suffering. This one's all about the next jaunty, jangly guitar riff on the soundtrack that signals a new day, the next bit of inspiration or opportunity, and sometimes that's just fine.