9 December 2008 | robinsonmv
Harris Malden fakes his facial hair to disguise emotional scars.
Three members of the Sweaty Robot production company showed their first feature-length film, "Happy Birthday, Harris Malden," at my high school recently. At first, attending the premiere just seemed like a good opportunity to get out of class, but my friends and I were in hysterics throughout the movie, bought the DVD's and tee shirts, and have since then invited our classmates to become Fans on Facebook. This independent flick offered smart, fresh humor that was entirely family appropriate. Hollywood's cheap shots to elicit the same side-splitting laughter out of its audiences are dull in comparison.
"Happy Birthday, Harris Malden," is a hilarious, poignant, and quirky story about Harris Malden, a man who fakes his facial hair. His childhood friend, Paul Levine, strives to protect him from the actualization of why Harris feels obligated to continue this ritual, but he can no longer isolate him from reality when Paul's new girlfriend stirs the issue. Melvin rounds out the cast as Harris' slacker little brother, who is part of a ridiculous subplot about his brief career as a model. The movie touches on universal themes of the difficulty of growing up, and the necessity of confronting and embracing change, while maintaining a constant sense of comic relief.
The film's idiosyncratic characters, witty script, and relatable subject matter are worth every cent of the rental fee. If you're interested in seeing a drama/comedy, or are tired of hearing about "Twilight," go see "Happy Birthday, Harris Malden." You won't regret it.