Parents' Guide to

Punching Henry

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Glum but smart comedy has some mature material.

Movie NR 2017 98 minutes
Punching Henry Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Like a comic bit that takes its time to unfurl, this movie requires commitment: It doesn't so much punch as dwell, with its quirky, interesting humor making itself known -- and felt -- by the minute. As such, Punching Henry is an acquired taste. It's a bit befuddling at first -- why are we watching this guy go about this life, seemingly hapless? -- but it builds to a fairly satisfying ending. Phillips is the straight man with the punchline, a sad-sack who's the object of his own jokes day after day (bad things just keep happening to him). But he's also the mastermind behind them, going about his life the way he does, willing to participate in its nuttiness and also not going with it -- as if he's not in control when really he is. (Isn't that the way it is for most of us?) He's perfect.

Still, Punching Henry feels more like, yes, a bit than an actual movie, and though that's the film's charm, it's also its downfall. The audience needs more than a bit -- or else we may end up asking ourselves: Why are we watching this guy, again?

Movie Details

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