24 March 2010 | brettster
If Quirk Is Your Poison, Welcome to Paradise
Halfway through the film "Harmony and Me," the central character's ex-girlfriend sizes him up and declares, "You know how sometimes you're watching a movie, and halfway through, you realize that you don't care about these characters? That's what's wrong with you." The line simultaneously demolishes our suspension of disbelief and reminds us what's wrong with "Harmony and Me." Ultimately, it's a chore to care much about Harmony, a sad-sack amateur songwriter with a boring day job and a bevy of quirky co-workers, quirky friends, quirky family members and quirky neighbors, all of whom are immensely more watchable and fun to listen to than he is. Shot in three weeks, "Harmony and Me" is an indie comedy with a budget so low that the cameraman couldn't afford Windex to wipe off the perpetually dirty lens. The film is relentlessly quirky, with some inspiringly improvisational-type humor, and only loses its footing when it settles for being quirky for quirk's sake. As Harmony, glum Justin Rice whines to anybody who will listen that his ex won't stop breaking his heart, and you can't help wondering how Jessica (fresh-faced Kristen Tucker) put up with this whiner for ten minutes, let alone a full year, before dumping this loser. (Tucker's shtick about mourning the relationship several weeks before actually breaking up with him is the funniest thing in the film -- somebody needs to give this gifted actress her own comedy.) Viewers with a high tolerance for quirk are encouraged to give the movie a chance for the occasional moments of brilliance and for the excellent supporting players -- including a genius turn by director Bob Byington and "Modern Family" actress Suzy Nakamura, who has been cast as so many doctors that she deserves a medical diploma.