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Fatherhood Review

Fatherhood Review
6 10

PLOT: Following the death of his wife, a man (Kevin Hart) struggles to adjust to the realities of FATHERHOOD and being the single parent of an infant daughter.

REVIEW: You have to give Kevin Hart credit. The guy could feasibly coast on his popularity and churn out a series of comedies that would make him serious bank, but every so often he takes it upon himself to stretch. The results are usually much better than people give him credit for, with him more than holding his own opposite Bryan Cranston and Nicole Kidman in The Upside, dipping into action with the upcoming Borderlands movie, and his latest film - Fatherhood.

Originally a Sony film meant for a theatrical push, the movie was sold in the wake of COVID-19 to Netflix, and it's among their better recent pick-ups. Hart is rock-solid as the everyman hero, a tech worker who finds himself adrift after the death of his wife (Them’s Deborah Ayorinde) but also now suddenly a single dad. Hart is toned way down in director Paul Weitz’s (About a Boy) adaptation of the memoir by Matthew Logelin.

Hart’s performance is terrific in the early scenes, with his breakdown following the death of his wife as good a piece of acting as I’ve seen lately. The guy has chops. If anything, the rest of the film is slightly disappointing in that it goes down a cuddlier route, ultimately making this a pretty sweet family movie that should please his fans and let him branch out a bit.

Part of me wishes it had been more Kramer Vs Kramer-like in some ways, but that’s not what this is. It’s sweet and cuddly and I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, although the first section of the film made me think this would be a bit edgier. Melody Hurd is cute and likable as his daughter, Maddy, and the two have great father-daughter chemistry. He seems to delight in her performance, and you invest in them as a pair.

The two are backed up by a strong Alfre Woodard as Hart’s mother-in-law, who wants Maddy for herself so she can replace the daughter she’s lost, although she never becomes the straight-up villain you expect. She’s overbearing in a much more typical way, and when she tells Hart early on that despite everything she does care for him, you believe it. Lil Rel Howery and Barry’s Anthony Carrigan play his best pals, who try to help him adjust to fatherhood by becoming backup dads, and it's nice to see uncomplicated, supportive male friendship up on screen, as its too often absent. DaWanda Wise from Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It shows up in the second half as Hart’s new love interest, a drop-dead gorgeous animator with a heart of gold. While she’s a touch idealized, they do work in a lot of salient points about the fact that those grieving need to move on, while Maddie, who has no memory at all of her mother, realistically is easily won over by this kindly new mother figure.

Again, Fatherhood is a sweet, uncomplicated movie about nice people doing their best, and in some ways, its refreshing to see something a little more old-fashioned and wholesome come out, even if one would love to see Hart cut loose and go way outside of his comfort zone. It’s not a bad little movie, and worth checking out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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