When it comes to reviewing a film like Daddy’s Home, one must take a moment to put things in context. You know from the outset – be it the trailer, the poster, the cast, the Director (Sean Anders, Horrible Bosses 2) or any of the other warning signs – that this is going to be a stupid comedy, offering nothing to the history of cinema but a couple of laughs and an excuse to turn your brain off for an hour and a half. And if that’s your sort of film – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – then you don’t need to read any reviews. You should go out, ignore the critics and just enjoy yourself. But for the rest of you, read on…
Daddy’s Home reunites Will Ferrell (Brad) with Mark Wahlberg (Dusty), who last hit the screen together in the widely panned buddy cop film The Other Guys (2010). This time, Daddy’s Home sees the pair waging war over the love of Brad’s wife (Dusty’s ex-wife) Sara (Linda Cardellini), and their children, Megan and Dylan. Mild mannered Brad, unable to have children of his own, is desperate to form a connection with Sara and Dusty’s children, and have the closest thing to a family he may ever had. But when tough guy Dusty comes back to town, he seems determined to keep Brad from achieving his dreams.
You can predict what happens from here, it’s all been done before, but thankfully the film keeps away from being too mean – something which detracts from a lot of films like this – and for the most part is an enjoyable ride. There are some frustrating moments and annoying characters, but there are some genuinely funny scenes in the film too, particularly with a couple of the actors on the periphery. Thomas Hayden Church steals the movie as Ferrell’s boss Leo Holt, always intent on telling hilarious stories of his ex-partners and wives regardless of context. Griff (Hannibal Buress), who starts to live in the house for no apparent reason, also delivers a few funny scenes. Also look out for an enjoyable cameo at the end. They are rare highlights of an otherwise average script.
Ultimately, Daddy’s Home does everything the packaging implies. If you throw your brain at the door, it will give you a few laughs, and that might be all you need this holiday season. But with a script that offers little to nothing new, characters you won’t connect with and a predictable storyline, the film will be quickly forgotten amongst the pile of comedic rhetoric already in cinemas and on our shelves.
Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Daddy’s Home is in cinemas on Boxing Day.