Daddy’s Home review
The concept of the ‘blended family’ is certainly ripe for a Hollywood comedy, but unfortunately Daddy’s Home fails to make the most of its cast, choosing instead to go for cheap laughs than witty humour.
The dads in question are Will Ferrell’s mild-mannered Brad and Mark Wahlberg’s uber macho Dusty. Brad is a sensitive and caring stepfather, desperately trying to win the affections of his wife’s children by packing their lunches, doing the school run, helping out with extracurricular activities and so on. However, just as the kids start to warm to his vanilla personality, in walks their motorcycle-riding, leather-clad biological father Dusty. Dusty was some sort of mercenary who abandoned responsible parenting to be a free spirit in high-risk situations. After years of rough and tumble action, he decides now is the time to return home to his ex, Sarah (played by Linda Cardellini), and their offspring.
Because Brad is much too nice to say no, Dusty casually moves back in and swiftly plots to reclaim his former family. A hilarious battle of brains and brawn between the men is meant to follow, but since Brad is such a pushover the fight is really rather pathetic and repetitive. While everyone knows Brad is the more reliable father figure, he keeps fumbling spectacularly leaving Dusty and his biceps to take all the glory. Honestly by the time the final act kicks in, neither seem that likeable or worthy.
With the success of The Other Guys behind them, the point of Daddy’s Home is to reunite Ferrell and Wahlberg for another round of in-your-face slapstick. Obviously the jokes are expected to be cartoonish and low-brow, but the script really lacks any originality and intelligence. The constant one-upmanship quickly becomes stale despite Ferrell and Wahlberg’s best efforts.
Another disappointment is Cardellini’s character. She is the stereotypical woman in a male-dominated comedy – pretty, passive, unamusing and nagging. A shame considering her relationship with the two men could have added an interesting dynamic to the story.
With credits such as Dumb and Dumber To and Horrible Bosses 2 to his name, audiences know what they are getting with director/writer Sean Anders. If his previous work tickles you, Daddy’s Home will be a welcome dose of comic relief this festive season. If not, save your tenner for something else at the cinema.
Daddy’s Home opens in cinemas on 26 December.
Daddy’s Home review