Daddy's Home

Directed By: Sean Anders

Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Cannavale, Thomas Haden Church, and John Cena

I've hammered out a number of reviews this holiday season, but Daddy's Home has eluded me.  I'm not even going to bother with Point Break, but I can't ignore the comedy playing second fiddle to Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office, especially one reuniting The Other Guys co-stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.  Having seen the film, I can see why it's the right kind of counterprogramming.  It's in the same sweet spot as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's comedy vehicle Sisters.  It's funny.  It's crude.  It's got some semblance of a family theme.  Additionally, Daddy's Home boasts two stars who have firmly established their comedic brands over the years, and they deliver the goods here.

Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) never thought of himself as someone who would have a family, but his life with his wife of eight months Sara (Linda Cardellini) and his two stepchildren has proven just otherwise.  Reading all sorts of books on how to be the kind of stepfather his kids need, Brad is ready to connect with his kids in a loving way.  He also gets a great deal of pleasure working with Leo (Thomas Haden Church) at smooth jazz station The Panda.  All of his plans come to a screeching halt, however, when Sara's ex-husband and the children's biological father Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) arrives on the scene.  Though friendly at first, Brad quickly starts to become something other than the loving patriarch he wants to be.  While Brad stays within the cones taking care of business, Dusty is getting points for being the cool absentee father who does anything but this.  This certainly doesn’t sit well with Brad.  In essence, we have ourselves a dad-off.

I'm late on the Daddy's Home train, and it's had some impressive success at the box office over the last week or so.  That being said, it hasn't exactly been a critical darling from what I've heard through the grapevine. Taking none of this into account, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie as it feels a bit like some of the Frat Pack films of old.  The second teaming of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg yields plenty of laughs from the outrageous slapstick humor the duo employs in their dad-off.  From motorcycles to Christmas in April, Ferrell and Wahlberg pull out all the stops and deliver plenty of laughter in doing so.  My one criticism of Daddy's Home echoes my comments on Sisters.  The comedy is at times uneven, and this is reflected by the fact that the second act is better than the first.

Ferrell and Wahlberg are both on their game here in Daddy's Home.  They spend a great deal of the film portraying exaggerated characterizations of the archetypal All-American dad and the stereotypical absentee father.  For his part as Brad, Ferrell is just an ordinary guy trying to build a loving fence.  Reminiscent of his performance in Kicking & Screaming a decade ago, Ferrell transitions from the kind, likable guy into a competitive prick to great comedic effect.  Meanwhile, Wahlberg is giving us the typical bad boy as Dusty.  With all his irreverence and staying outside the cones, he uses the tough guy persona to really shine here, which is far different from his performances in the Ted movies in recent years.  

Daddy's Home
gets a strong 0.06% rating.  You'll enjoy it if you let yourself go and have a few rounds of beer with this one.