We lost Robin Williams in August, but we’re left with a few cinematic performances that have yet to come out, including the third “Night at the Museum” movie, out Dec. 19, where he reprise his role as Teddy Roosevelt, and the mean-spirited mediocre holiday comedy “A Merry Friggin’ Christmas.”
Williams plays Mitch Mitchler, a gruff jerk of a father and the patriarch of a messed up family, a clan which Joel McHale’s Boyd wants to avoid at all cost.
Boyd blames his dad, a former alcoholic, for a crummy childhood and ruined Christmases — which we see in flashback — and has no intention of spending one yuletide minute with him, until his brother Nelson (Clark Duke) asks him to be the godfather for the baby left in his possession, with the baptism on Christmas Eve.
The cast here is pretty impressive: Lauren Graham plays Boyd’s wife, Candice Bergan plays his mother, Wendi McLendon-Covey his sister and Oliver Platt shows up as a slovenly Santa.
Much of the film is Mitch, Boyd and Nelson driving back and forth to Boyd’s home, where he accidentally left his son’s presents. It’s a contentious ride — Boyd has asthma, which doesn’t go well with Mitch’s penchant for smoking cigars — and all the most lazy father/son dynamics are addressed. The humor is pretty base, sometimes offensive and very rarely clever. Most of the cast is wasted, especially the females, who are left at home boozing.
As for Williams, it’s safe to assume that Mitch Mitchler is not a character that people will remember him for, and that’s not a bad thing.
Directed by Tristram Shapeero | Starring Joel McHale, Robin Williams, Lauren Graham | Rated PG-13