HARRY AND MAX

NR
Reviews

Selfish, alcoholic 23-year-old Harry (Bryce Johnson) and his brother, 16-year-old Max (Cole Williams), are both rock stars and teen idols. And they're in love, because as Max says, "Most people wouldn't have wanted a brother like Harry, but we couldn't help but be right for each other."

O-kay. Writer-director Christopher Münch seems to be working out a number of personal fantasies, all of them tawdry, in Harry and Max. Having already covered John Lennon's supposed homosexual affair with Brian Epstein in his debut film, The Hours and Times, he salaciously adds pedophilia and incest to the mix. Harry at first resists Max, who is nostalgic for the sex they once shared, but soon is seen masturbating to his brother's picture in a fan magazine and seeking out and seducing the older man who took Max's virginity. ("He was 40! That's sick, man. It was different with us. I'm your brother!")

When Max moves to New York two years later and shacks up with an artist boyfriend, nasty Harry turns up, wanting a threesome with them. The appalled boyfriend cries, "Don't pretend you really want me, man. Like, I'm in a committed relationship with your brother! Just because we all like each other doesn't mean we have to fuck each other!" The humiliated Harry skulks off to Japan, because, as Max says, "Over time, the public's taste for boy bands moved on. I think, in a way, he was relieved."

You watch this prurient would-be porn, treated with kid-glove "sensitivity," in a state of disbelief. Rain Phoenix plays a doormat of a girl involved with both brothers (naturally); my favorite bad moment is when Max overhears Harry's confession to her of their verboten love from a balcony in a restaurant, while a flamenco performance is going on. The Mamas and the Papas' Michelle Phillips pops up to lend, I suppose, rock-star cred, in the part of the boys' venal manager mother, busily arranging Max's next tour, when he really should be finishing school. ("I don't have the keys to your prison, Mom," Harry angrily scolds, "and I don't want to spend any more time there!") Under the impossible circumstances, Johnson manages to give an appealing portrayal of a troubled soul, but nostril-flaring, narcissistic Williams merely recalls a missing Hanson brother in need of acting lessons.