I bought a ticket for Harmony and Me
based on the review
given it by UW film prof J.J. Murphy. In it he says, "Yet if I were to pick one indie film of the past year that I would jump at the chance to see over and over again, it would be Harmony and Me
The movie is a comedy which follows the trials and tribulations of Harmony, a 20-something guy who has recently broken up with the lovely Jessica. There's not much of a plot to be had here and it is instead a series of vignettes of Harmony dealing with family, having his friends try to help him over his loss, and the odd brief encounter with his ex. Justin Rice plays Harmony and he makes the character a self-centered sad sack who seems little different from many of the people who surround him. He constantly bleats "She broke my heart, but she’s still at it" while his mother is diagnosed with cancer and his boss is given but one day to live.
I did not find Harmony's slacker misadventures funny and I think I was the only person in the audience who felt this way. Not once did I laugh, although I smiled a couple times. By far the funniest moment was near the beginning when Jessica is talking to a friend of hers on the phone. She tells her that, while she and Harmony had dated for about a year, she knew it was over by 9 months in and got a leg up on the grieving process by starting while they were still dating. And while I felt the comic timing of the movie was good, I simply just didn't find much humor to be had which was worth laughing about.
Harmony's boss is a jerk and at one point makes a comment that he likes his women young. And so at Brad's funeral Harmony says a few words about his former employer and concludes by shouting that the guy was a paedophile before storming off. This got big laughs from the audience but I found it puerile and distasteful. Similarly, one of Harmony's friends, Mike(?), is in a loveless marriage and scenes at Mike's house invariably involve him berating his wife mercilessly until tears begin to flow. Again, not funny yet these scenes got big laughs.
The only redeeming feature to be had is how Harmony begins taking piano lessons and pieces together a song over the course the movie. It was (vaguely) poignant and provided something akin to a narrative thread.
Despite really wanting to like Harmony and Me
I ended up feeling like director Bob Byington tried way too hard to create a childish movie and ended up succeeding. I mean this literally. While I like things crass, this movie was something my 10-year old stepson would probably fall over laughing at. I mean, I like The Three Stooges but this just gave shallow and insulting a bad name.
Byington gave a post-screening Q&A in which he gave some good info on production but he put me off. He came across as a really droll, self-important hipster, not unlike Harmony, so I can at least partly understand why I thought the movie was so bad.