WWith a pre-credits warning against the horrors of having a family, we're soon introduced, in With a Friend Like Harry (Harry un ami qui vous veut du bien, 2000), to an unlikeable but fairly ordinary family: young wife & husband, three daughters including the infant. They have an air about them, of doom by means of banality.
On the road, Michel (Laurent Lucas) meets a man at a bathroom stopover, name of Harry (Sergi Lopez), who claims a past friendship which Michel cannot remember. With manic friendliness they're soon sharing further introductions between Michel's wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner), & Harry's fiance Plum (Sophie Guillemin).
With their intrusive insistence on friendship, Harry & Plum prove difficult to shake. They join the road journey, which is hot, the children unmanageable, every kilometer just all round miserable. The tolerant seeming Harry is not given much thought -- at first.
When ensconced in a run down but charming rural get-away, Harry with his girlfriend become unbelievably helpful. When the car breaks down, Harry buys them a ghastly expensive RV more suited to a family's needs.
When Michel's meddling parents turn up (Liliane Rovere & Dominque Rozan), they're well meaning people who crab at each other too much. Harry reacts to them as though they are grotesque nightmares. We catch our first glimpse of his capacity to over-react, his stated philsophy being "You must exaggerate to bloom."
After the parents return home two hours away, Harry sneaks away from Plum & shows up at the old couple's condo. The up-to-now merely odd story suddenly turns psycho thriller, with no one but Harry the wiser.
Little brother Eric (Michel Fau), a wastrel of a young adult, is next on Harry's list of unacceptable family members for his best pal. Michel still has no clue about the true nature of this nice normal seeming overly solicitous "friend."
Regressing strangely, Michel wants to finish the ridiculous science fiction story he started in highschool, entitled "The Flying Monkeys," which Harry insists is the most beautiful piece of writing he'd ever in his life read. But soon Harry's expressing his feeling that Claire saps Michel's creativity. The derogatory opinions make Michel angry, & he tells Harry his precious Plum is a peabrained cow. And we're about to discover just how greatly Harry over values Michel's point of view!
In reality Michel wants to cheat on his wife with Plum. Instead of pursuing that unfaithful desire, he begins writing a new story, abandoning the tale of the flying monkeys. He feels as though he's on a role through the night, scribbling words as fast as he can, when he hears Harry's in the house.
Harry has just killed Plum, the peabrained cow. Failing to express any of the horror one would expect upon discovering one is chumming around with a killer, Michel merely falls right into line, & helps get rid of the body, down the old abandoned well.
The tale could go anywhere at this stage & where it does go is intriguing but not as extreme as might be expected. The "important" thing is Michel learned & grew from the experiences, & may even become a good writer some day. Remarkably bizarre little movie!
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl