Constraints of genre have found ways to break apart in exciting ways in the past few years, and a number of comedians’ shift to darker roles is an example of this. Shortly after Adam Sandler’s buzzy role in the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems, Kevin James starred as a neo Nazi the horror movie Becky. When Community’s Joel McHale was asked to join the movie, he was excited to work with his Deliver Us From Evil co-star Lulu Wilson and witness James’ on-screen transformation. In McHale's words:
When I heard they got Kevin James as the villain, I was like, ‘That is really crazy and great. You get The King of Queens in there with a swastika on the back of his head and it’s like, ‘Well this is different!’
Yeah… that was our reaction too. Kevin James has built up a reputation with audiences as this comedy dad on projects such as Paul Blart: Mall Cop and his long-held role in The King of Queens. We never would have imagined him donning a head tattoo and hunting a 13-year-old girl in an R-rated thriller take on Home Alone. But that was the kind of detail Joel McHale took notice of when he signed on to the role, per his interview with Daily News.
In the recent flick that has become one of the few movies to find a theatrical release at select drive-in movie theaters, Lulu Wilson plays the titular role of Becky, a preteen who is brought to a remote cabin by her dad (played by Joel McHale) over the weekend in an effort to bond with her. However, when she gets there, she learns he is planning to get remarried, and his to-be wife and son are on the trip with them.
The true horror of Becky isn’t family drama, but the appearance of Kevin James’ Dominick, a white supremacist with a few buddies behind him, and an intense need to obtain something within Becky’s possession. The movie becomes a cat and mouse game between him and the 13-year-old – but sorry, no John Hughes charm here.
Since Becky hit some theaters and VOD in early June, it has been warmly received with a 70% Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score and 62% audience score. The movie is a much more under-the-radar attempt for Kevin James to establish himself in a new way, but it will perhaps serve as an indicator of the actor picking more challenging roles for himself.
Coming up from Kevin James so far is a NASCAR comedy television series called The Crew, which also stars Gary Anthony Williams, Dan Ahdoot, Freddie Stroma, Sarah Stiles and Jillian Mueller. He will also be rolling with Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph and Rob Schneider for the comedy Hubie Halloween. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more movie news.