Tuesday 29 December 2015

Daddy's Home - Review by Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini
Genre: Comedy
​Strapline: "Choose Your Daddy"

So, in a nutshell?
A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best step dad to his wife's two children, but complications ensue when their free-wheeling and free-loading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.

So, what are my thoughts?
Daddy's Home is the first on-screen pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg since The Other Guys (2010). I enjoyed that movie, I caught it February this year on stream.

Sean Anders the director for this movie was responsible for the screenplay for one of my favourite comedies of the last few years, We're The Millers (2013), ​the movie, Vacation (2015) should have been, but wasn't.

So still recovering from my wife's delicious Christmas Day meal and with this in mind I hauled myself to my usual cinema with the best intentions. I enjoyed Daddy's Home for the most part, it's a nice comedy, just nothing that made my jaw continue to ache after my Christmas Day luncheon.

My main issue with the movie is it never really took off, or came alive. It was too sedate and it would have been served much better by a sharper script.

The movie which doesn't outstay it's welcome at a fast paced 96 mins features good chemistry though between it's lead duo, who continue to prove they are a good on-screen double act. As for Will Ferrell well, he's Will Ferrell. The amiable straight laced slightly anal family guy, this is Ferrell firmly at home, the edges of the envelope are firmly intact. Mark Wahlberg goes toe-for-toe with Farrell on all fronts and steals the show as the confident, swaggering birth father, Dusty Mayron. 

This is firmly a vehicle for its lead duo so all other characters with the possible exception of Ferrell's onscreen wife Sara, (Linda Cardellini) fall by the wayside including a miscast Thomas Hayden-Church (Spiderman 3).

As I said earlier the movie could have been served much better by a sharper script, therefore as a result the movie for the most part is at best mildly funny, it occurred to me whilst watching it how much I wasn't really laughing. Which is a shame as I wanted to like this movie more than I did. It's not particularly gross but it does go a little low brow at times when a smarter script would have kept things more in focus. Also even though they had good chemistry the line between the love/hate relationship between Brad and Dusty was hazier that it needed to be at times.

With the eternally amiable Ferrell at it's heart as well the movie never strays from a predictably happy ending. But what an ending. It's in the movie's final act that the momentum starts to build which culminates in one of the best endings to a comedy in ages. Daddy's Home gets an extra star for that alone. 

Finally, with the movie securing a Christmas release date, you would think that it would have a Christmas setting. However you'd be wrong. Save one scene at Christmas (Which is in May, no need to explain!) the movie is not at all festive. It's the movie's strong central theme of family and kids that is behind it's holiday release.

My Rating

Daddy's Home is an enjoyable rental. Ferrell and Wahlberg show once more that they have good on-screen chemistry and it's nice central theme of family has a sweet heart, that despite it's lack of festive trimmings strangely fits within the season. Save for it's last act and great ending though, the movie as a comedy struggled to break the surface meaning that this is one movie that you can catch at home. It's less Daddy's Home and more Mum's the word.