23 January 2012 | Buddy-51
Hilarious indie comedy
"Harold" provides more laughs per minute than any comedy in recent memory.
The premise of Greg Fields' and director T. Sean Shannon's script provides us with a veritable gold mine of sparkling comedy nuggets. 13-year-old Harold has virtually nothing in the world going for him - for not only is he an eternally put-upon, socially awkward nerd, but his early-onset male-pattern-baldness makes people assume he's a middle-age man. This, of course, leads to a great deal of humiliation and social rejection for the kid - but countless moments of awkward-situation and mistaken-identity hilarity for the audience. But Harold does have at least two things in his favor: a rapier wit that allows him to hold his own in any situation – no matter how surrealistic and bizarre in nature - and a mature enough understanding of how the world actually works to help him navigate through life's rough waters and emerge a stronger person in the end (at times he seems like Woody Allen as we imagine he might have been right at the onset of puberty). And it's that spirit of knowing optimism, more than anything else, that purges "Harold" of cruelty and makes us laugh WITH rather than AT the character.
I don't know where these guys Fields and Shannon came from, but their script for this film is a gem of originality, tonal balance and understated satire. In addition, the movie is blessed with an array of outstanding performances, starting with Spenser Breslin, who makes of Harold a thoroughly likable and wholly relatable figure. Ditto for the rest of the cast, which includes Ally Sheedy, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Rachel Dratch, Chris Parnell, Stella Maeve, Suzanne Shepherd, Elizabeth Gilles and Robert Gorry.
Together they've made an endearing, hilarious comedy that grinds the over-priced and overpaid Hollywood big boys of the business into the dust.