How I Met Your Father is cheesy, inane and very hard to hate
Kim Cattrall was controversially MIA from that fizz-free Sex and the City reboot whose name we’ve all forgotten (I’ve been calling it “Last Among Sequels”). But finally we have an update as to what she’s been up to (aside from quietly exiting Sarah Jessica Parker’s WhatsApp group). She’s been busy making a fun – if not entirely hilarious – gender-flipped reboot of venerable sitcom How I Met Your Mother.
Canned laughter, gags as obvious as a barn door slammed in your face and a “British” character cobbled together from spare bits of Paddington 2 and that episode of Friends set in London – How I Met Your Father has it all. By the end of the first episode I’d been whisked back to an era where “filmed before a live studio audience” was a mark of quality and Two And a Half Men confirmed Charlie Sheen as God among mortals.
The action flips between distant future and present day. In the former, Sophie (Cattrall) explains to her horrified son how she and his father came to be a couple, while the latter saw a younger Sophie (Hilary Duff) seeking true romance.
Duff – former teen star of Lizzie McGuire – will never be mistaken for a potential Oscar winner. Still, she brings a sweet charm to the part of a dewy-eyed photographer who believes true love awaits her in New York. And as per sitcom convention, she comes with a pre-installed set of pals, including room-mate Valentina (Francia Raisa).
We are also introduced to Valentina’s absurd love interest, Charlie (Tom Ainsley). He is a “British aristocrat” who sounded like Daniel Radcliffe with Cheesy Wotsits rammed up his nostrils and – being English and posh – has no idea how public urinals worked.
The zingers are often gag-inducing and none of the characters remotely plausible. Yet the show sparkles with such exuberance and lack of cynicism that I found myself laughing at the inanity of it all. Twenty five minutes flew by and, while I didn’t love this creaking comedy, I can’t quite say I hated it either.
‘How I Met Your Father’ is streaming on Disney+.