“With a Friend Like Harry”: French “thriller” about a flustered and overwhelmed family man (Laurent Lucas) –a married father of three cuties, but definite nuisances who becomes befriended by a daffy old classmate (Sergi López) that he can’t seem to recall.So while the family is on vacation, they have the addition of the friend, Harry, and his plump girlfriend Plum (Sophie Guillemin) tag along and stay in the rickety old house. The turning point, or the catalyst, is Harry’s pseudo-homosexual affinity to please and defend Michel (Lucas), which includes tasks like murder. Second-time director Dominik Moll (though his first feature, “Intimacy,” went unreleased and unheard of here) as well as many of the movie’s favorable critics have gilded “With a Friend Like Harry” to the likes of a Hitchcock thriller, an incorrect supposition, and a mighty presumptuous one at that. Just because a movie happens to be of a suspenseful nature does not automatically deem it worthy of an allusion to Hitchcock. The fact that the majority of the movie is tame and unsuspenseful is duly noted, and a further detraction. Take for instance, the scene where Harry decides Michel’s parents have to die, and so while at the hotel he is staying at, takes off in a van, which he later uses to drive them off of the road. What, per se, would have happened had the van not been there out of convenience? What more is it than a stroke of luck and a wave of the screenwriter’s (Moll and Gilles Marchand)? And in the end, what reason or development or justification was there for any of Harry’s actions? None that I was satisfied with. While the chance for suspense was not allowed inasmuch as the movie chose to drag its heels, it rounded it out in an altogether dull smog. The other argument that I have heard about “Harry” is that he himself does not exist, and while I contemplated that during the viewing of the movie, I found no evidence to support it, though I did see plenty of ways that the character of Harry could have been turned into a figment of one’s imagination.
With Mathilde Seigner, Victoire De Koster, and Laurie and Lorena Caminita.Final Verdict: C+.