Harvey Putter and the Ridiculous Premise (2010) – By Nic Brown

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case then parody may be the most genuine compliment. Major filmmakers like Mel Brooks specialize in this with films like BLAZING SADDLES, YOUNG FRANKENSTIEN and SPACE BALLS. It’s fun to watch someone take a popular genre and twist it up, turning the camera on its side to look at all the clichés, the inconsistencies and sometimes even absurdities present in the films we love. The idea of lampooning some of Hollywood’s biggest hits is not just limited to folks with big budgets either. Jim Wynorski has done it dozens of times with his tongue-in-cheek T&A films like THE WITCHES OF BREAST WICK and indie filmmakers like Kimberly Amato and Michelle Tomlinson have done it with their shorts series THE MIS-ADVENTURES OF MCT & A. Following the cult success of his first feature length parody, 2006’s THE DORK OF THE RINGS, writer/director Timothy Alan Richardson has turned his eye to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise with his film HARVEY PUTTER AND THE RIDICULOUS PREMISE.

HARVEY PUTTER follows the adventures of the afore-named boy wizard (played by Bryce Cone) as he attends school at Snogwarts Academy with his friends Hernia Grunger (Sunny Williams) and Rod Cheesely (Joel Scheibelhut). He must deal with a case of swollen head from his fame from surviving an attack by Lord Moldymort (Alan O’Brien). The attack left Harvey with a strange scar on his head, one that is shaped oddly like a copyright symbol, and the attitude of a teen rock star to go with it.

Harvey’s world is turned upside down though when Professor Mumblemore (David Kiefer) makes a shocking discovery: all of them are merely characters in a best selling series of books. Now Harvey and his friends are in a race against evil Lord Moldymort to find the seven magical “hortexts” that will allow them to escape the world of genre fantasy!

HARVEY PUTTER AND THE RIDICULOUS PREMISE is an extremely amusing look at the world of Harry Potter that manages to stay funny and fresh from start to finish. The film, which clocks in at 100 minutes, spoofs all seven of the Harry Potter books, neatly incorporating characters and plot elements from them all into one entertaining, if somewhat thinly stretched, storyline. Despite the inclusion of so many different characters and the broad plot base of Rowling’s books into one film, the jokes and sight gags don’t feel forced the way they do in many larger budget Hollywood parodies. Another thing that sets HARVEY PUTTER apart is its production values. The sets, costumes and sheer number of actors involved in the production all show the quality of the film and the extensive use of green screen special effects allows the movie to include effects that would have been beyond independent filmmakers just a few years before.

It is clear that Richardson and the rest of the cast and crew of HARVEY PUTTER AND THE RIDICULOUS PREMISE are fans of the genre. This shows in the way they lay into the world of Harry Potter with a fun, mocking style and eye for detail that, while sometimes over the top, is never mean spirited. In addition to the movie itself, the two disc special edition is packed with special features including music videos, mockumentaries, and a particularly funny spoof of Daniel Radcliffe’s controversial appearance in EQUUS. That said, if you’re not a fan of Harry Potter, then HARVEY PUTTER will probably run too long to hold much interest for you. After all, half the fun of this movie is picking out the clever ways it pokes at the popular series from character names, to the whole idea that the characters realize that they are just characters in a book. However, if you are a fan of Rowling’s work then you don’t want to miss HARVEY PUTTER AND THE RIDICULOUS PREMISE, but you might want to do it soon before the author casts a “Copyright Infringius” curse upon the whole thing and tries to make it disappear.