Daddy’s Home Review

DADDY’S NOT HOME


It’s been interesting to watch comedic actor Will Ferrell rise and fall over the years with his movies. Films like Night at the Roxbury, Anchorman, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby have become iconic to Ferrell’s name. However, other movies like Semi-pro, The Campaign, Casa de Mi Padre, and Get Hard have proven the actor (who’s undeniably talented) has wasted his talents on unsavory / mediocre film endeavors. Interestingly, back in 2010, Ferrell teamed up with action / drama actor Mark Wahlberg in the collaboration team up comedy The Other Guys. The mixture, while at odd first, worked for the movie, proving that Wahlberg could enter in the foray of the comedy genre (see his performance in the movie Ted). Now, the pair (Ferrell and Wahlberg) have returned again on-screen with another comedy team up in the movie Daddy’s Home. Does the film find comedic gold in its scenario or is it a passable endeavor from the duo?

THE STORY


Desperately trying to the perfect model stepfather, Brad (Will Ferrell) is hoping to impress his two stepchildren, Megan (Scarlett Estevez) and Dylan (Owen Vaccaro), by always being assertively kind as they refuse for him to be their fatherly parental figure. Unable to make a difference, Brad encounters an unexpected challenge when Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), the biological father of the two kids, returns to town after a long absence, forcing the mild-mannered man to welcome in the unruly alpha male into the family once again. While wife Sarah (Linda Cardellini) tries to ease Brad tension, the meekly man is faced with uniquely charming personality in Dusty, who tries to reassert himself back into family and win over his kids with gifts, bribes, and personally attention. Brad, struggling to maintain his authority, is almost powerless against Dusty’s cunning and likeable ways, with attempts to match the same bravado and masculinity in order to reclaim his stance in his family’s dynamics.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


Like opening paragraph says, I belive that Will Ferrell is a talented individual when it comes to the goofy slapstick aspect of comedy movies. Of late, however, Ferrell’s recent movies (to me) have been medicore at best, striving for cheap laughs with his films. I did like The Other Guys with Ferrell teaming up with Mark Wahlberg as the pair lent their “tit” for “tat” chemistry with their on-screen characters, making the movie funny to watch and to laugh outloud. After watching the trailer for Daddy’s Home, I was actually excited to see this movie, feeling that comedy duo of Ferrell and Wahlberg would be back in similar fashion to The Other Guys. However, that’s not the case with Daddy’s Home as the movie is a very bland movie experience that’s inconsistently funny, a thinly drawn plotline, and (as a whole) very formulaic.

Sam Anders, who previously directed such comedy film endeavors as That’s My Boy and Horrible Bosses 2, plays double duty in production of Daddy’s Home, acting as both director for the film and for the film’s script, which he was aided by John Morris and Brian Burns. Nevertheless, Daddy’s Home is a movie that’s almost completely mundane, drawing upon the commonplace (and stereotypical) fatherly figure of competiveness and masculinity. I’m not saying that this is a bad premise (it’s actually a pretty good setup for a movie), but Daddy’s Home just feels banal in striking up effectiveness in its narration. In truth, the movie is pretty predictable, running the film’s three acts on clockwork timing as a viewer will (mostly likely) already guess what’s going to happen before it actually does happen in the movie. The movie’s narration even loses track of its own minor subplots, which is hard for a film that has a one-dimensional structured storyline.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in Daddy’s Home is in its comedy. The movie just simply can’t find comedic identity (tonal-wise), balancing the right values of family sentimentality and hearty laughable moments. Like the movie’s weak narration, the comedy is pretty vanilla as the movie wants to be PG kid friendly and R-rated adult raunchy at the same time; only to come up short with a PG-13 rating. Thus, I felt that the comedy aspect of the movie was constantly at war with itself and ultimately became very bland, with Anders and his team trying to strike middle ground between child friendly and adult oriented jokes. This, in turn, means that Ferrell and Wahlberg are somewhat restricted in the film, holding back on their more raunchier physical/ verbal comedy that probably what most people (including myself) wanted to see in Daddy’s Home. In short, Daddy’s Home is mostly unfunny with an only a handful of jokes and gags that give a viewer a slight chuckle, but that’s about it. As a side note, most of the funniest parts of the movie are mostly shown in the movie’s trailers.

By and large, Daddy’s Home pits Will Ferrell against Mark Wahlberg as each actor plays to their strengths in their character’s persona. Ferrell pulls off the straight-laced and mild-mannered stepfather of the family in Brad Whitaker with Ferrell bring his inherit goofiness to the proceedings. In contrast to Ferrell’s Brad (but in similar fashion), Wahlberg pulls off the beefy and scheming in Dusty Mayron with Wahlberg bring his own likeable charm and snarky bravado to his character. Combined both Ferrell and Wahlberg shared a sense of chemistry with each other on-screen (which helps the movie), but, as I said above, their characters or the actors themselves seem too restraint in the movie. This results in the both actors (who are pretty funny when teamed up together) just feel vaguely flat with their respective characters (as a whole).

Meanwhile, actress Linda Cardellini gets the job done as Sarah (Brad’s new wife and Dusty’s old wife), though she doesn’t get to do much other than to act flustered and angry at the two men in her life. Similarly, the youngsters of the feature Scarlett Estevez’s Megan and Owen Vaccaro’s Dylan spend most of their on-screen time furthering character developments for Brad and Dusty and not-so-much on their own. However, they do get a one or two kid friendly one-liner jokes to say for each throughout the movie.

The rest of Daddy’s Home supporting cast comes from a pool of some recognizable faces, delivering “some” chuckles here and there in an otherwise bland comedy film. This includes Hannibal Buress, Bobby Cannavale, and Jamie Denbo in their small respective roles. However, the scene-stealer of Daddy’s Home’s minor characters comes from Brad’s Boss, Leo, who’s is played by actor Thomas Hayden Church. Lastly, while Church’s Leo is pretty funny (going off on long-winded dialogues scenes about his bizarre life and saying some odd things), a cameo appearance before the film’s end credits, to me, offers the best laugh-out-loud moment of the movie (which is kind of sad for the movie in general really).

FINAL THOUGHTS


It’s a dad vs. stepdad in Sam Ander’s Daddy’s Home. The movie reteams Ferrell and Wahlberg together again and their on-screen chemistry definitely shows and plays to the movie’s strengths. However, Daddy’s Home is just simply lackluster. Its premise is interesting, but the final product movie is too formulaic, its two leading actors are indeed talented, but are, more or less, restraint in the movie, and the film’s comedy is supposed to be hilarious, but just comes off as being bland and unfunny. To me, it could have been a whole lot better and was a disappointing misfire of a movie. As a result, Daddy’s Home cobbles up some merit as a “passable” comedy rental for some, while simply skipping the feature entirely is the best option (just wait for it to come on TV). In the end, Daddy’s Home is far cry from the Ferrell and Wahlberg’s team up in The Other Guys.

2.4 out of 5 (Skip It)

 

Reviewed on December 24th, 2015

Daddy’s Home is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, crude and suggestive content, and for language

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