If a comedy troupe like Broken Lizard or The Whitest Kids U Know had made Lars and the Real Girl, it might have turned out like Happy Birthday Harris Malden, a sweet, funny, and very odd comedy about growing up and accepting reality. It's the work of a Philadelphia filmmaking quintet called Sweaty Robot, and the opening credits are no more specific than that: "Written and directed by Sweaty Robot." I like that. The film is about friendship, and it was made by a group of friends.
Granted, making a movie with a bunch of your friends isn't always a good idea -- Adam Sandler, I'm looking at you -- but Harris Malden benefits from Sweaty Robot's familiarity and camaraderie. While it has some jokes that probably only the guys themselves think are funny, the film is so good-natured and charming, almost innocent, that even when I wasn't laughing I was content. It's a movie that wants to be your pal, and hey, doggone it, what's not to like?