Harry is a 23-year-old former boy band idol who is watching his younger brother Max, 16, follow in his footsteps. Harry has detoured on his way to a Japanese concert tour to escort Max on a long-promised camping adventure. Their trip begins on a note of camaraderie but quickly turns serious as old wounds resurface, forcing them to come to terms with their dysfunctional past--Harry's drinking problems, his disconnection from the family, and, most of all, his relationship with Max and the emotional dependency that keeps them from moving into adulthood. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
****SLIGHT SPOILERS**** Harry and Max lacks all of the subtle interplay between characters that has so far been a hallmark of Christopher Munch's films. The premise sounded interesting and challenging, but the film was a let down for me.
None of the characters here, even Harry and Max themselves, are fully formed. Unfortunately, this means that the salacious premise (the repercussions of two teen pop idol brothers' incest) never overcomes its own silliness. I thought the nearly non-stop chatter between the two main characters would eventually be banished as merely a cover up for their deeper thoughts, but no, apparently this silly dialog was meant to be thought provoking in some way.
Why are these guys pop stars? Oh yeah, because who wants to see a movie about incest unless the stars are attractive? It should be central to their characters, but it seems only to be an excuse for Harry to have some sort of A Star is Born angst and for the audience to see pretty faces.
Max is infatuated with Harry, then Harry is infatuated with Max, both sleep with the other's past loves, vague hints are given about their messed up family and absolutely NOTHING of significance about love, human nature, lust, relationships, or anything else is ever revealed.
Not helping matters is the cursery development of all other characters. Josiah, Roxanne and Jordan are all treated like pieces of the set to be moved around at the need of the director. None has any depth, motivations or interesting qualities beyond their usefulness as background for Harry and Max. Even the boys' mother is reduced to two minutes of muddled screen time bitchiness. Nikki, for me, was the only interesting character here, but the reasons for her choices are never explored and in the end she winds up as flat as all the others.
Writers need to make choices and here none have been made. Either focus only on Harry and Max, or focus on their world, but please do one or the other with some degree of success! To my mind, this is Christopher Munch's worst film to date, not because of its scandalous subject matter, but because of its inability to reveal anything of interest about it!
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