A good-natured, if somewhat aimless, first feature, Jeff Kopas’s An Insignificant Harvey, stars Jordan Prentice ( In Bruges) as a short-statured, lonely janitor, working in a ski resort. Avoiding the fast life on the slopes and in the chalets, the film focuses on a small group of fringe residents who work in the local service industries.
Harvey lives in a trailer, where he chain-smokes, watches television and plays with his film camera. By day, he sweeps floors and empties sewage containers at the local tuck shop. One morning, snowshoeing to work, Harvey gets pounced on by a rambunctious husky, which decides to follow him.
The dog leads to a meeting with a pretty young woman, Dakota (Kristin Adams), a dancer at the local strip club. Along with Harvey’s unreliable stoner friend Lucas (Steven McCarthy), they form a fraternity of misfits, over copious drinks and cigarettes.
Hovering in the background is Father Asher (Art Hindle, suggesting Bing Crosby’s worldly priest from Going My Way) as the head of the orphanage where Lucas and Harvey grew up.
As he proved in the Martin McDonagh’s black comedy, In Bruges, Prentice is a take-charge actor, and with his protective shell of irony makes a promising protagonist, and Adams’s Dakota (a sort of Jane Avril to his Toulouse-Lautrec) is appealing as a troubled flirt.
But Kopas’s script never manages to set the dramatic wheels in motion. Instead, we get a Sundance-like, episodic quirk-a-thon, in which Harvey gets knocked down a lot, and his sidekick Lucas indulges in various dopey schemes, from dressing up in a yeti suit to building a homemade luge run.
The relationship between Harvey and Dakota is almost incidental, settling for mild charm and pathos, and sticking to the bunny hills of emotional entanglement.
An Insignificant Harvey
- Written and directed by Jeff Kopas
- Starring Jordan Prentice, Kristin Adams and Steven McCarthy
- Classification: 14A