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Saturday, September 19, 2009

HARMONY AND ME

By D.E. Levine

Director: Bob Byington
Writer: Bob Byington
Producer: Kristen Tucker
Cast: Justin Rice, Kevin Corrigan, Pat Healy, Kristen Tucker, Alex Karpovsky, Allison Latta, Margie Beegle, Keith Poulson, Jeremy Pollet, Bob Byington, Bob Schneider, et al.
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Languagr: English

Even with a grant from Sundance, distribution deals are difficult to get so when the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City offered a premiere and a week-long run in its Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, the film's principals happily accepted.

We caught the film on its premiere night when the showing was followed by a Q&A with its writer/director (Byington), producer (Tucker), and lead male star (Rice). Filmed in Austin, Justin Rice of the indie rock group Bishop Allen plays Harmony with fellow musicians playing small roles. The film's writer/director Bob Byington wrote several of the songs and plays a role in the film and the producer, Kristen Tucker, plays the female lead who dumped Harmony and leaves him heartbroken and moping.

Some might say the film doesn't have a plot, but actually, with deadpan wit, masochistic Harmony attempts to cope after being dumped by Jessica, who he learns through a friend, always considered him a loser.

Wearing a locket with Jessica's picture around his neck and his heart on his sleeve, 30-year old Harmony tells everyone he meets the sad story about his lost love. Stuck in an apparently aimless life, Harmony goes to a dull desk job, spends time with his sarcastic mother and brothers, goes bowling with co-workers, takes piano lessons, gets involved with a weird neighbor and hangs out with friends who all seem to be unhappy.

The picture is funny in a droll sort of way, filled with one-liners and a clever, dry wit. Harmony is definitely searching for something although we're not quite sure if it's his rhythm, a new love, a different life or something else. Harmony sulks and is self-pitying and egocentric throughout the film and that alone might explain why Jessica dumped him.