AN INSIGNIFICANT HARVEY (Jeff Kopas). 78 minutes. Opens Friday (November 4). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
The shadow of Tom McCarthy's The Station Agent looms noticeably over writer-director Jeff Kopas's An Insignificant Harvey, and not just because both films feature little people in the leads.
It's more that both films tell remarkably similar stories about a little person drawn out of his shell by happenstance in a small community. In The Station Agent, Peter Dinklage's character inherits a railway station and winds up befriending two similarly lost souls. Here, Jordan Prentice plays Harvey, a withdrawn janitor whose world expands when he takes in a stray dog and meets an appealing young woman (Kristin Adams) as a result.
It's a wobbly construction, swinging between credible character development and clumsy plotting, but the genuinely sweet chemistry between Prentice and Adams holds the whole thing together.
If some of Kopas's odder choices fail to pay off - like the opening fantasy sequences in which Harvey imagines himself as a raccoon - a few others do, giving the picture an intriguingly unpredictable rhythm.
And it's got the strangest product placement for Steam Whistle I've ever seen.