DIRECTOR: Sean Anders
RELEASE DATE: 12/25/2015
STARRING: Linda Cardellini, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell
Thomas Haden Church, Hannibal Buress, Bill Burr, and
Everyone knows divorce can be hard, especially on the kids. Mommy and Daddy start to yell at each other all the time, sleep in separate rooms, and now Daddy lives with someone else. It’s messy, but one thing that helps soften the blow is two sets of presents for everything. Now you got Dad and Step Dad coming to the plate with all kinds of gifts during holidays and birthdays. Not only that, Dad is taking you to Chucky Cheese on the weekend, and Step Dad is taking you to the ball game during the week… you know what? Divorce is awesome. Daddy’s Home takes the Dad vs Step Dad motif and uproariously expands on it in some clever ways, but I also found some of the humor very obvious.
Brad (Will Ferrell) is a mild mannered radio exec at The Panda, the number 3 most popular smooth jazz radio station in the country. Due to an unfortunate accident, he’s no longer able to have children, which would seem like a huge problem until he met Sarah (Linda Cardellini), a single mother of two children who Brad falls in love with and marries. Now Brad’s number one goal in life is to win over Sarah’s children and become their new step dad. Things seem to be going swimmingly until Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) arrives, Sarah’s ex and father of her two children. Dusty is the proverbial badass and immaculately beautiful when compared to Brad. The two immediately try their best to one-up each other in hopes of winning over the kids and Sarah’s affection.
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell last worked together on The Other Guys, a 2010 buddy cop film that delivered a decent amount of laughs and displayed a unique chemistry between the two that worked surprisingly well. Daddy’s Home continues that streak, but more effectively and with the help of a better supporting cast. Linda Cardellini’s comedic chops can be traced all the way back to Freaks and Geeks, and although she plays it relatively straight, her subtlety is a welcomed glue that kept the film together. Thomas Haden Church, who plays Brad’s boss, is a surprisingly awesome addition, whose stories are over-the-top and serve no purpose other than to make you laugh. Hannibal Buress, who plays a handyman that befriends Dusty, was another great source of comedy and was peppered throughout the film perfectly.
The movie had its stronger moments and then lulls which seem to last a little too long at times. There were a few stand out scenes that really saved Daddy’s Home for me. Brad alludes early on that he’s a motorcycle enthusiast after Dusty pulls up on a pristine Indian, when in fact he knows nothing about riding them. This set-up pays off in a big way the following day and led to one of the largest laughs in the theater. Another memorable moment found Dusty and Brad at a school dance going toe to toe with comedic legend Bill Burr, who plays a disgruntled father of a 4th grade bully… without spoiling too much, it involved some pretty sweet moves.
Daddy’s Home isn’t setting the bar for comedy, but its cast and writing make it worth checking out. At 96 minutes, it also doesn’t overstay its welcome and by the end you’ll feel like you weren’t cheated out of your time.
Daddy’s Home hits theaters Christmas Day.