I love to laugh and I’ve always been a fan of comedy whether stand-up or film. Not all comedies strike me, but sometimes ones that I don’t think will win me over manage to do just that. A great example is Kicking and Screaming with Will Ferrell. I saw that after I became a dad and for some reason that movie cracks me up. Daddy’s Home reunites Mark Wahlberg and Ferrell after “The Other Guys,” which I also enjoyed, and found my funny bone landing the film in the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) is a stepfather that truly loves his step-kids and has finally started to win them over when biological father, Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg), comes back into the picture looking to win back his family.
I definitely connect to Brad and am rooting for him to win. The quick back story to show how the kids initial felt is comedic and had me laughing. Other cast includes Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, Bobby Cannavale, Bill Burr, and my favorite, Hannibal Buress. Buress steals every moment he is on screen and needs to get the chance to be the lead. I was fortunate enough to see him two years ago at the Oddball Comedy Festival in Tampa and he stole that show against headliner Louis C.K. (who was great) and Aziz Ansari (who surprised me as I didn’t care for his stand-up much previously). Buress enters the film as a repairman and then through comedic happenstance ends up being a returning presence in the film. If a scene isn’t hitting any comedy beats rest assured that Buress will make it funny.
Comedy is about timing and if I reveal too much about a scene the jokes may not land the way they did for me so I’ll avoid giving details. However, this film works the rising action plot line replacing action with comedy. The funny moments actually increase as the film goes on with the climax being a series of great, ridiculous comedy moments. This isn’t a smart, witty comedy, but it manages to be a bit smarter than one might think. A lot of things play out much more believable than they would in other films. Ferrell actually makes smart choices or comments especially when talking to his boss at the smooth jazz radio station. Sara (Cardellini) makes wise observations and doesn’t fall into the tropes a female character often does in a situation like this.
Sean Anders is the writer/director of this film. He also directed “Sex Drive,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” and awful Adam Sandler comedy “That’s My Boy.” Anders also wrote “We’re the Millers” which I thought was very funny, but sadly worked on “Dumb and Dumber To” that I felt was a poor facsimile of the original. I think he did a great job with Daddy’s Home though so I’ll keep my eyes open for his next project.
The worst part of this film was the product placement. It wasn’t a film where they just happen to put the product on display in the frame and hope it’s natural. It wasn’t like Will Smith in “IRobot” frequently gaining compliments about his vintage Chuck Taylor Converse shoes.This was a mashup of both styles with a sarcastic tone and voice-over or a plot point that managed to rely on the product. Dusty makes cinnamon rolls that are compared to Cinnabon. Brad drives a Ford Flex and describes the car in detail in voice-over. Griff (Buress) was hired off Angie’s list that gets a name drop at least twice in a minute span. In truth, there is nothing wrong with product placement as long as the viewers understand there is a reason our favorite character is rocking those Nike Shox, and that reason is he was paid to. However, when the product becomes a bit intrusive and the character seems to be snarking at the fact that they have to mention the product it begins to damage the film. I love that movies aren’t interrupted by commercials.
Nevertheless, my family and I sat down and watched this film and we all had a really good time watching it. It’s not perfect and I don’t think it’s for everyone, but it definitely found some funny moments. I’d say Daddy’s Home is definitely worth a rental from Redbox or any VOD service.