Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reteam as a stepfather and father competing for a adore of a kids in Sean Anders’ new comedy.
It seems like yesterday that Bridesmaids was being touted as decisive “proof” — as if such a thing were required — that, yes, women could be funny. But as 2015 draws to a close, moviegoers might be wondering what’s going on with a dudes. Let’s review a year’s studio comedies: Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy gave us a gifts of Trainwreck and Spy, Pitch Perfect 2 was roughly as fun as a strange and Sisters is a workable Tina Fey/Amy Poehler vehicle; on a bro-ier finish of a spectrum, we’ve had Unfinished Business, Get Hard, Entourage, a not-bad The Night Before and now Daddy’s Home, a mostly laugh-free reteaming of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg after their 2010 patrolman travesty The Other Guys. You decide.
Other Guys found some amusingly uncanny shades to Ferrell and Wahlberg’s odd-couple chemistry, and you’ll skip it while examination a pair’s new film, an tedious bit of penetrate work from Sean Anders (director of Horrible Bosses 2 and author of We’re a Millers).
Daddy’s Home, that pits Ferrell’s brainy stepfather opposite Wahlberg’s muscular biological father in a conflict for a adore of a kids, plays like a comedy underwater: Its rhythms are sluggish, a jokes predicted and a gags are set adult with such thudding deliberateness that even a steer of Ferrell losing control of a motorcycle, careening by a atmosphere and crashing true by his residence hardly raises an eyebrow. To steal a tenure from today’s girl — who, given a movie’s PG-13 rating and risk-averse humor, might be a aim assembly — Daddy’s Home is basic.
Ferrell is Brad, newly married to Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and stepdad to her dual grade-school-age kids, Megan and Dylan (Scarlett Estevez and Owen Vaccaro, shouty). Brad’s a kind of doting swain who places inspirational records in a small ones’ lunchboxes and tears adult when Megan asks him to a “daddy-daughter dance.” But only when he thinks he’s finally being embraced as a legitimate paterfamilias, Brad is slapped with a news that Dusty, Sarah’s ex-husband and a father of her children, is entrance for a visit.
As his name suggests, Dusty (Wahlberg) is a prophesy of virility, a badass with a leather jacket, slicked-back hair and muscles for miles, who inspires acclamation in his kids and might still make Sarah somewhat diseased in a knees, too. He seems hell-bent on winning behind his mark during a conduct of a self-evident table, though Brad is dynamic to strengthen his position as a family’s new element and dignified provider (such is Daddy’s Home’s source of domesticity, with Cardellini, a excellent actress, reduced to finger-wagging and hand-wringing).
It all turns into a large one-up-athon — and literally a dick-swinging competition during a revisit to a flood alloy played by Bobby Cannavale — as Brad and Dusty contest over who can tell Megan and Dylan a improved bedtime story, build a improved tree house, give improved recommendation on how to hoop bullies, etc. It’s a ripe, if obvious, comic premise, though Anders and his group of screenwriters don’t seem to have spent most time meditative adult crafty or talented ways to have a group crush out their rivalry. Daddy’s Home is a one-trick pony, and that pretence — an facilely cold Wahlberg emasculating a beleaguered Ferrell — only isn’t uninformed or humorous adequate to means a 95-minute movie. The biggest giggle comes when Brad unintentionally hurls a basketball during a Laker Girl’s face; it’s never a good pointer when a film’s high indicate is a bit of tributary assault opposite women.
Ferrell and Wahlberg (who regularly has proven his comedy chops though here registers as small some-more than a chunk of shirtless torso) are personification concepts rather than characters, and seem understandably bored. Meanwhile, Thomas Haden Church and Hannibal Buress are squandered in sore ancillary roles as Brad’s trainer and a handyman, respectively.
When a dog named Tumor starts humping a Mrs. Claus doll (it sounds funnier than it plays, if that’s any indication), we know a film has thrown in a towel, and you’ll substantially do a same.
Production: Gary Sanchez Productions
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Cannavale, Bill Burr, Jamie Denbo, Paul Scheer, John Cena
Director: Sean Anders
Screenwriters: Brian Burns, Sean Anders, John Morris
Producers: Will Ferrell, Chris Henchy, Adam McKay, John Morris
Executive producers: Sean Anders, Riza Aziz, Jessica Elbaum, David Koplan, Joey McFarland, Kevin J. Messick, Diana Pokorny
Director of photography: Julio Macat
Production designer: Clayton Hartley
Editor: Eric Kissack, Brad E. Wilhite
Costume designer: Carol Ramsey
Composer: Michael Andrews
Rated PG-13, 96 minutes.