Harmony and M e

 

Harmony (Justin Rice) is a young man in a serious funk.  He just lost his girlfriend, has a dead end job, and he doesn't get along with his brothers.   Filmed in Austin, this indie comedy delivers plenty of laughs as we meet the characters in Harmony's life.  His mom (Margie Beegle) dead-pans her lines perfectly as she tries to patch things together for her three sons.  Mom is a mother with an edge.  Her lungs are a disaster zone, but she continues to smoke, even while playing tennis.  When an uptight tennis player on an adjacent court accuses her youngest son Wes (Keith Poulson) of failing to use proper court etiquette, she threatens to put his eye out with her lit cigarette.  Wes has no patience for Harmony’s “poor me” act and needles his older brother mercilessly. 

Director Bob Byington plays Harmony's older brother Jim.  He seems to have made his way in the world and lends provides some stability to the family.  While Harmony, Wes and Mom appear to be related, but Jim doesn’t look like he fits.  Maybe he was adopted or was the product of an earlier marriage for Mom.  Jim’s wedding provides the background for one of the movie’s comic highlights.  The bride looks like she might spend her honeymoon in the maternity ward. 

The cause of Harmony’s angst is his ex-girlfriend Jessica (Kristen Tucker).  She is an enigma.  What attracted her to Harmony in the first place is a mystery as she is a beautiful young woman and Harmony is hardly a heartthrob.  Jessica purports to want a clean break, but keeps showing up in Harmony’s life, which reinforces his misery. What does Jessica do when not breaking Harmony’s heart?  Hard to say, but she seems to get pleasure from the act of breaking up.

Harmony has a neighbor named Natasha (Alison Latta), a woman in need of a breast reduction and some male company.  She seduces Harmony, but even that fails to alter his mood.  He tells Natasha afterward that she should be thankful he didn’t kill her.  Maybe he was turned off by her lederhosen. 

After wallowing in self-pity, and not getting much sympathy for his efforts, Harmony finds a job commensurate with his ambition and capability – meter-maid man.  In his first day on the job he encounters the meter-maid corps supervisor (Nick Offerman).  The supervisor, along with a grizzled subordinate (Bill Wise) undertakes to teach Harmony the finer points of meter collection.  To succeed as a meter-maid man requires the ability to continue writing citations in spite of pleadings from motorists who return to their vehicle during the ticketing process.  The three meter-maid men take turns role-playing irate motorists.  The movie ends on a high note.

 

November 11, 2009