Watched a delightful little flick this week. See You In Valhalla is the latest from brothers Jarret and Brent Tarnol. Brent writes. Jarret directs. They both produce. Their star and fellow producer is Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland.
This is a nice turn for Hyland. Johana is a meatier, more fully realized part than the airheaded — but adorable — Hayley Dunphy on Modern Family. Also, for her freshman turn as a producer, Hyland made some smart choices. Her co-stars have some chops, too, especially Bret Harrison, who plays one of her brothers.
Johana’s family is reunited when one of her brothers commits suicide. It’s a comedy. About a funeral.
And this would be a run-of-the-mill slightly macabre comedy if it wasn’t for Steve Howey. Now, I am a straight-up, unabashed fan of Showtime’s Shameless and Howey has been a rockstar as bartender Kev Ball for all five seasons, but I’m telling you, nothing has prepared you for him in this film.
Howey has mastered the art of playing very broad and very specific at the same time. He is completely over-the-top, but at the same time, he’s not showy. Consequently, he steals absolutely every scene he’s in as Johana’s brother’s Hawaiian (or maybe Hawaiian-adjacent?) boyfriend Makewi. Pretty as you please, he effortlessly walks away with this movie and leaves you utterly convulsed. He is brilliantly funny and completely worth the price of admission.
As my viewing companion noted when the credits rolled, “He needs to be in every movie ever made from now on.” I agree.
P.S. to Fellow Shameless Junkies. Magnus, the brother that dies in this movie, is only seen in flashbacks. Alert viewers will recognize him as Jake McDorman, who, as Mike Pratt, the scion of Worldwide Cup in Seasons 3 and 4, tantalized Fiona with the prospect of a “non-Gallagher” life only to be in inadvertent catalyst for her downfall.