Metro Weekly

Harry and Max

Reel Affirmations 2004

Review by Will Doig

Rating: starstar (2 out of 5)

Tuesday, 10/19/2004, 9:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre

Harry & Max

CLEARLY THERE’S PRESSURE in the indie film festival world to really get edgy. With no studio focus group dictating milquetoast teen fun-in-the-sun target-market flicks, there’s no excuse not to be put out some NEA-villifying frowned-upon scatulloid. And so, we get incest.

Max (Cole Williams) is a 16-year-old boy band teen idol. His brother Harry (Bryce Johnson) was once the same, but his career is on the slide and now he’s a love-handled drunk with a rapidly aging fan base. The two of them are driving an SUV through the California redwoods to jumpstart a stalled sibling rapport, all the while occasionally pulling over to the side of the road to suck dick in the cargo space.

For most of this film, it’s hard to figure out why these two are sleeping together at all. The fact that they’re brothers makes it inconvenient; more than that, they don’t seem that hot for each other. Mostly they argue sibling-style, smoke pot, complain about their parents — in short, they’re ordinary brothers. Is this, we ask the filmmaker, your point? Does this make it EVEN MORE SHOCKING?

Hardly. What should to be the jolt in this plot — the incest — feels strangely peripheral. Dull, even. Williams and Johnson engage their characters competently — the adolescent Williams especially. He narrows his eyes at his traveling companion from the passenger seat in a way that somehow simultaneously expresses “jealous lover” and “rebellious, bitter younger brother.” But in the end, the storyline lurches from lifeless to muddled. The sex, which should inspire guilt for inspiring titillation, does neither, and tacked-on edginess turns out to be bizarrely pedestrian.

Good thing it’s paired with the hysterically horrendous Reunion () . Resembling a porn with no sex, this two-man morality play is fourteen minutes of absurd music-video montages, gratuitous shots of a six-pack torso, and one of the most ridiculous feel-good conclusions ever applied to the big screen. It all takes place in a big, red salon. So insanely lame, you’ll die laughing.

Harry and Max
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