By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review comes courtesy of the returning comedy duo Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Their previous outing was 2010’s The Other Guys which I adored; it was a laugh a minute.
When I saw they had reunited for Daddy’s Home, I was pleased. It may have a very different premise but the pairing had me queuing for my ticket.
Adam McKay is on producing duties for Daddy’s Home, like most of Ferrell’s best work, so what could possibly go wrong?
Daddy’s Home stars two fathers, one stepfather (Will Ferrell) and one biological father (Mark Wahlberg). Stepdad, Brad Whitaker, is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when the biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.
The narrative throughout the 96 minute feature is very much a tussle between the two leads as the audience might expect. Each ‘daddy’ gets the upper hand a few times with the inevitable happy ending looming. As each battle commences, so does the comedy. The niggling issue is – there aren’t enough comic scenes to make this a classic. The whole film feels like one drawn-out sketch that could have been wrapped up in ten minutes.
Daddy’s Home is utterly predictable. It has the same tedious structure that every Hollywood comedy is built on in recent years. In a nutshell, rather than each scene adding together to provide an amusing story; it makes a lacklustre, stop-start film that has slight comedic scenes which just fall on top of each other.
Adam McKay and Will Ferrell collaborations are normally on point but Daddy’s Home just goes missing. It could be down to something Sean Anders is inputting because his previous movies, including Dumb and Dumber To and Hot Tub Time Machine, are below average to say the least. If it wasn’t for Ferrell’s and Wahlberg’s chemistry holding the film together, this would be a disaster.
The duo is still less effective in this outing than The Other Guys because there is so much the script isn’t telling us about each character’s background. The script is more interested in delivering laughs, but actually forgetting that if we know more about the people involved, it would be funnier. Wahlberg’s character is more based in conceit than performance; he’s expected to get laughs from the idea of his intimidating persona rather than his delivery of dialogue.
Linda Cardellini (the wife to Brad and ex-wife to Dusty) is merely a bit part player in the narrative and only around to remind viewers why the leading pair is battling. She is a passive wife who bends with the plot depending on which ‘daddy’ dominates her attention each scene.
In reality, Daddy’s Home limps over the comedy line with formulaic and cheesy humour that would barely entertain wider audiences. The film too often relies on CGI slapstick that would be more at home in a Razzies-nominated Sandler comedy. I wouldn’t waste 90 minutes of your life when you can get the same enjoyment from the 90 second trailer. Ferrell normally attaches himself to projects that poke fun at this type of film, instead this time around, he is the star.
Cineroom’s Rating: 2 Stars
Daddy’s Home is currently being shown in selected cinemas worldwide – certificate 12A