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Harmontown Movie Reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter

On 10, Mar 2014 | In Press & News | By SBI

AUSTIN — Three years ago, Rodman Flender’s Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop premiered, an account of a comedy tour the stand-up star went on after being fired by NBC.

This may become a trend: In HarmontownNeil Berkeley follows a road trip in which Dan Harmon, at the time recently booted by that network from his own Community, staged live recordings of a podcast he’d been hosting at LA’s Meltdown Comics. Less laugh-packed than Can’t Stop but often quite funny, the doc is more earnestly focused on the personality issues of a man seen as impossible to work with even by some of his biggest admirers. The result will play very well with the cult of fans who’ve improbably kept Community alive.

The loose and interactive approach of the Harmontown podcast proves challenging on the road, with Harmon fretting that what flew with a friendly local audience might not suffice for out-of-town crowds who’ve paid 20 bucks or more and sometimes driven hours to attend. But these fans will forgive a great deal of uneasiness (Nashville even bears with him getting blotto on a jar of moonshine), and in fact enjoy such unfettered access to his flaws and preoccupations. By the end of the tour, they’re sitting in on public couples-therapy between Harmon and girlfriend Erin McGathy, who perhaps unwisely came along on tour.

McGathy is sweetly supportive, and show co-host Jeff B. Davis makes an excellent foil — the sharp-dressed showbiz pro to Harmon’s unwashed boozer. But the non-Harmon star here is Spencer Crittenden, the twentysomething Dungeons & Dragons fanatic who was plucked from the LA audience one night to be “dungeon master” of a live D&D session. An extreme introvert who still lives with his parents, Crittenden comes alive in front of a crowd who identifies with him and is seen upstaging one or two of the guest stars who visit the show.

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