A straight-laced snob goes on the road with a county-western band in HARMONY CATS. The movie puts too much emphasis on its hackneyed fish-out-of-water story line, and not enough on the music.
Unemployed symphony violinist Graham Braithwaite (Kim Coates) is driving his girlfriend Jane (Charlene Fernetz) crazy with his anal-retentive ways. He needs a job--any job. He ends up joining a country-western band called the Harmony Cats, as they embark on a tour of western Canada. The band is
led by good ol' boy Frank Hay (Jim Byrnes), and includes his daughter Debbie (Lisa Brokop). Graham is smug and self-involved, and he sometimes tests the patience of the easy-going Cats. More often, though, his idiosyncrasies are a source of amusement. Debbie is a very talented singer, and at
Graham's urging she starts taking center stage at the shows. Graham also helps Debbie write her own songs. The relationship bolsters her confidence and loosens him up.
One night, a record producer (Hoyt Axton) approaches Debbie about a contract. That same night, Jane shows up to surprise Graham, but catches him celebrating with Debbie. Later, Frank and Debbie clash over her plans--he doesn't want to let his little girl go--and she quits the band. The tour
continues with Frank becoming ever more despondent, and Graham trying to woo Jane back with love letters, becoming one of the boys--wearing cowboy boots and even getting in a bar fight. At the last show, Jane shows up and finds the man she loves has become a man she can marry, and Debbie shows up
to reconcile with her father before she heads for Nashville.
HARMONY CATS might have been a stronger film if it had focused on the relationship between Frank and Debbie, with Graham's story used as a device to enter their world. The father and daughter--one of whom consciously avoids the big time, the other eager to plunge into the breach--are more
interesting than Graham's predictable transformation, and certainly a better backdrop for the country music. In fact, the film's biggest flaw is that the music is given short shrift. More songs and performances from Canadian recording artist Lisa Brokop would have been a welcome addition. As it
is, HARMONY CATS is pleasant enough but misses the opportunity to be a real charmer. (Profanity.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: A straight-laced snob goes on the road with a county-western band in HARMONY CATS. The movie puts too much emphasis on its hackneyed fish-out-of-water story line, and not enough on the music. Unemployed symphony violinist Graham Braithwaite (Kim Coates)… (more)