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Harold Reviews

A one joke comedy expanded from a Saturday Night Live sketch about a 13-year-old boy with the body of a middle-aged man, this film marks the feature directing debut of writer T. Sean Shannon. Being Harold Clemens (Spencer Breslin) is a pretty miserable state of affairs, especially after his widowed mom (Ally Sheedy) moves Harold and his high-school age sister, Shelly (Stella Maeve) to a new town. Shelly fits right in and infiltrates the ranks of Roosevelt High's cool kids with no effort, easily attracting the attention of dreamy Patrick () and being invited to join the cheerleading squad. Harold, who's prematurely balding and beset with complaints that range from bunions to hemorrhoids, is picked on by just about everyone except jive-talking janitor Cromer (Cuba Gooding, Jr., who also served as one of the film's producers) and cheerful, chubby Rhonda (Nikki Blonsky) and her geek brigade -- James (Edward Gelbinovich), Malcolm (Joey Blonsky), Byron (Jake Sokoloff) and Jugdish (Newman Sakhi). Harold naturally sets his sites on eighth-grade bombshell Evelyn Taylor (Elizabeth Gillies), who barely notices that he exists. Cromer assures Harold that things will get better, that he's smarter than his tormentors and that when they get older they'll pay for having coasted through high school, while he – toughened by adversity – will be able to "eat nails and crap out a toaster oven." In the meantime, Harold stumbles across some small compensations for his prematurely mature appearance: He scores points with the alpha boys by buying them beer and makes some new friends at the local strip joint. If only the old lady next door (Suzanne Shepherd) wouldn't keep hitting on him – that her name is Maude is pretty much the pinnacle of the film's wit. Things come to a head at the annual go kart race, which Cromer and Harold conspire to win despite the fact that Harold's go kart is actually an old folks' scooter. Shot on Long Island and featuring several SNL cast members, including Colin Quinn, Rachel Dratch and Chris Parnell (there's also an end-credit thank you to Lorne Michaels), Shannon's film is slow going and laugh-free, though effervescent HAIRSPRAY(2007) star Blonsky maintains her bubbly demeanor throughout.