A nutso look into brotherly love blurring into boyband buggery, Harry and Max plays like an episode of Behind the Music as scripted by Dennis Cooper. Harry (Bryce Johnson), a 23-year-old booze-swilling, fading teen idol, goes camping with his beloved younger sibling, tender high schooler Max (Cole Williams), whose own burgeoning recording career has landed him an in-depth Q&A in Teeny Bopper magazine. Johnson, who bears a passing resemblance to Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block, and Williams, who looks like the littlest Hanson brother, preen and pout like Tiger Beat pinups. The boys speak of hurt feelings of the past and the trouble with Mom and Dad, making Suddenly, Last Summer-like references to a family vacation in Bermuda. Fraternal closeness morphs into Max orally pleasuring Harry. Mmmbop.
The rest of Harry and Max‘s slim 74 minutes is a swirl of messy boundaries and loony dialogue. “We’re not fucking. We’re helping each other work things out,” protests Harry to the charges of incest by his mortified ex-girlfriend Nikki (Rain Phoenix), who’s fresh from getting it on with Max. The family romance wears thin; the emotional lives of the leads are as vacuous as a Joey Fatone B side. Director Christopher Munch explored the homophilic leanings of pop stars far more successfully in his first film, The Hours and Times (1991), a smart, graceful imagining of a sex-charged night between Brian Epstein and John Lennon in a Barcelona hotel. That movie was made for adults; his latest offering is a taboo-busting pilot for the WB audience.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 8, 2005