WILL FERRELL AND MARK WAHLBERG HAVE UNDENIABLY STRONG COMEDIC CHEMISTRY, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE FILM DOESN’T DELIVER MUCH ON FUNNY IDEAS OR THE SATIRICAL POSSIBILITIES OF ITS PREMISE!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C- (2 ½ stars)
It’s Ferrell (left) VS Wahlberg (right) in Daddy’s Home
Two of my favorite comedy actors together once more, Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Blades of Glory, Step Brothers) and Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys, Ted, Transformers: Age of Extinction) re-unite since their 2010 action comedy hit, The Other Guys with a comedy about dad-on-dad action, and no I don’t mean sex in their latest comedy, Daddy’s Home. When I first saw the trailers and TV commercials of the film I thought it looked harmless enough, a goofy comedy about two dads battling for their family’s love, there could be some solid comedy possibilities here, and Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg already proved to be just as hilarious together with The Other Guys as they are on their own.
It wasn’t a movie I was looking forward to seeing, my eyes were completely on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Hateful Eight over the Christmas holiday, but I decided to give it a watch while it’s still 2015. Pretty much I can sum up my full thoughts on the film with one gesture “Meh!”.
It’s not the worst Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg offered, believe me the worst they’ve offered were Bewitched and The Happening, but I felt with an ingeniously funny concept like this, the final film was surprisingly really lacking, which is a real shame because both Ferrell and Wahlberg are very talented and can be very funny. But the film has its moments and when it’s funny, it’s funny, from Will Ferrell driving a motorcycle and accidentally crashing into the house to Ferrell and Wahlberg trying to show off to each other and see who’s the better dad.
Will Ferrell stars as affable radio executive and step-dad, Brad Whitaker who is just starting to become a family with his wife, Sara Whitaker (Linda Cardellini-Mad Men, Gravity Falls, Avengers: Age of Ultron) and step-kids, Megan Mayron (Scarlett Estevez) and Dylan Mayron (Owen Vaccaro) after spending some quality time with them such as talking to his step-son about problems at school to watching The Princess Bride with his family, everything seems perfect for him. That is until Megan and Dylan’s biological father, Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg) comes into the picture and what once was family bonding soon becomes a competition to show off who is the better dad.
From showing off skateboard tricks to building a fancy treehouse in the backyard for their kids. Brad and Dusty are determined to battle for their family’s love, even if that involves celebrating Christmas in April and getting drunk at a basketball game. It’s Dad VS Step-Dad, so let the family feud begin.
The film also stars Thomas Haden Church (George of the Jungle, Spider-Man 3, We Bought a Zoo) as Brad’s boss, Leo, Hannibal Buress (Louie, The Kings of Summer, Neighbors) as house contractor, Griff, and Bobby Cannavale (The Other Guys, Blue Jasmine, Ant-Man) as Dr. Emilio Francisco.
Overall, Daddy’s Home is a mostly harmless comedy, it’s got some decent humor thrown in but it offers enough time for sweet and heartfelt moments like a lot of other family comedies, which I thought were done a little better than the comedy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite deliver much on jokes and satire, which is a shame because if they took the Step Brothers or The Other Guys route with this movie, it would have been a lot better, but as is the film suffers from an identity crisis, is it trying to be a generic family comedy or a raunchy teen or adult-oriented comedy, because when you try to do both it usually backfires pretty hard.
The comedy as a whole is all over the place, sometimes it’ll get me to laugh but other times it feels awkward and generic humor I’ve seen in other comedies. But what did make the film more enjoyable were Ferrell and Wahlberg’s performances, Will Ferrell as the uncool dorky father that obviously works and Mark Wahlberg as the badass, motorcycle driving ex-husband dad, that works too, and much like The Other Guys they have strong chemistry together when it comes to comedy, hopefully they’ll do more movies together in the future.
This could have been a hilarious comedy, a raunchy, slapstick, and mean spirited comedy about dads competing against each other starring two very funny leads, but unfortunately it’s just a standard comedy, jokes that either laugh or die, comedic plot elements that don’t really go anywhere, and a lot of family comedy clichés, in fact you can probably predict how this movie will end.
If you just want some simple belly laughs after the Christmas holiday or looking for a decent comedy to take the family to (preferably not with little kids, you might find something to enjoy here with Daddy’s Home, but if you’re like me and you want some of the best jokes and comedy Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg can offer, just rent The Other Guys instead.