Review: Daddy's Home
PLOT: A low-key stepfather’s (Will Ferrell) world is turned upside-down by the arrival of his wife’s (Linda Cardellini) ex (Mark Wahlberg) – the too-cool father of her children. Immediately, the two men begin competing with each-other over their kids’ affection.
REVIEW: It’s no surprise that Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg were keen to reunite following the critical and box office success of THE OTHER GUYS. In the years since, Wahlberg’s become a much more common sight in comedy, with him having achieved major success with TED (not so much the sequel). However, DADDY’S HOME marks Wahlberg’s first attempt at a family comedy, a genre which – to be sure – hasn’t always served co-star Will Ferrell that well with early films of that ilk (KICKING & SCREAMING, BEWITCHED) laying an egg with audiences.
Sure enough, DADDY’S HOME is far from Will Ferrell’s best work but – at the same time – it’s nowhere near as bad as his team-up with Kevin Hart is the awful GET HARD. Ferrell doesn’t have to stretch too much here, playing his usual lovable doofus whose cuddly exterior occasionally gives way to a near-psychotic temper. Ferrell does his usual shtick, acting all sweet one moment and then lobbing basketballs at disabled kids the next. It’s a familiar part for him, but Ferrell – as he usually is – is a personable guy and easy to like.
For his part, Wahlberg seems to be having the time of his life playing gags opposite a real, live human as opposed to a CG-talking bear. He’s new enough to comedy that what he’s doing here doesn’t feel too familiar, with him basically transplanting any of his usual alpha-male action heroes into a domestic comedy, a gag which works relatively well. While they play enemies here, both men seem to have some affection for each other and that comes through on-screen. Wahlberg also plays well opposite co-star Linda Cardellini, as his ex-wife who – despite opting for nice, reliable Will Ferrell, can’t help but be attracted to her edgy ex, with him taking every opportunity to display his six-pack for her and the envious Ferrell.
However, DADDY’S HOME’s premise is a bit thin and it had a hard-time sustaining the relatively brief ninety minute running time. A lengthy subplot involving a fertility doctor falls flat, and an ongoing joke involving Ferrell’s boss’ (Thomas Haden Church) ex-wife likely fails to produce many laughs. The most successful subplot involves Hannibal Buress as a repairman who thinks Ferrell’s racist. While this seems like a bit of a repeat from the dreadful GET HARD, the payoff is better and Buress is a funny guy.
In the end, DADDY’S HOME is far inferior to the type of comedies Ferrell generates when he’s paired with someone of Adam McKay or Jay Roach’s caliber, with director/co-writer Sean Anders (THAT’S MY BOY, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2) only really delivering something of BLADES OF GLORY-level quality. Still, as far as Ferrell sometime fare, things could be a lot worse and for what it is DADDY’S HOME is a reasonably funny family comedy.
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