Film Review by Kam Williams
Wahlberg and Ferrell Compete for Kids’ Affections in Dysfunctional Family Comedy
Brad’s (Will Ferrell) been a model stepfather, ever since he married Sarah (Linda Cardellini) eight months ago. He’s always lavishing attention on her children, whether picking them up from school, coaching their Little League team, offering a shoulder to cry on about bullying, or tucking them in at bedtime. In that respect, he’s the polar opposite of their biological dad, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), an unreliable narcissist who was rarely around to attend a school function or help with homework.
For that reason, you might think that little Megan (Scarlett Estevez) and Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) would appreciate all the TLC now being lavished on them by Brad. Think again. He’s been having a heck of time winning them over, despite doting on them 24/7 since Dusty’s been out of the picture.
The kind of thanks Brad gets is being referred to as “Mr. Fletcher” by Megan. And to add insult to injury, she doodles drawings of him with poop on his head and being stabbed in the eye with a knife. The problem is that she and brother miss their real dad, his flaws notwithstanding.
So, you can just imagine the effect it has on the household when he shows up unannounced. For, he soon decides to compete with his replacement not only for the affection of his children but for that of his ex to boot. It doesn’t help matters any that Dusty is a virile hunk while Brad is flabby, sterile and unable to get Sarah pregnant.
Directed by Sean Anders (Sex Drive), Daddy’s Home is a dysfunctional family comedy which basically pits a nerdy nice guy versus a bad boy alpha male. The movie reunites Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg who generated tremendous chemistry as ill-matched police partners in the action comedy The Other Guys (2010).
This collaboration as adversaries proves equally-inspired, as it allows for both actors to play to their strengths. The film seizes on as many excuses for a shirtless Wahlberg to flex his beefcake as it does to showcase Ferrell in silly slapstick sequences.
Perhaps the picture’s funniest bit, already spoiled in the trailer, finds Brad losing control of Dusty’s motorcycle, riding into the house and up the stairs before becoming wedged in a bedroom wall. When asked by his worried wife, whether he’s okay, he responds with, “No, I’m in the wall (Duh!)… and I’m scared!” Priceless!
Disposable, dopey humor designed to make you laugh out loud in the theater but to leave no lasting effect once the closing credits have rolled.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, crude humor, suggestive material and mature themes
Running time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures