Low laughs with dead­beat dads

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

DADDY’S HOME (PG)

Di­rec­tor: Sean An­ders (Hor­ri­ble Bosses 2) Star­ring: Will Fer­rell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Hannibal Buress, Thomas Haden Church Ver­dict: Just get fa­ther away

WILL Fer­rell and Mark Wahlberg got along like a house on fire in the supremely silly 2010 hit The Other Guys.

How­ever, that old flame doesn’t catch alight for their re­union cou­pling in Daddy’s Home. This is a flat, forced, un­nec­es­sar­ily crass, notso-fam­ily-friendly com­edy.

Fer­rell hasn’t been his usual funny self for a while now (his last ef­fort Get Hard was a calamity), and there are signs here he might never reach peak form again.

He plays the lead role of Brad, a clue­less, wimpy ra­dio exec hav­ing a lot of trou­ble se­cur­ing the af­fec­tion of his new stepchil­dren.

One of them, a five-year-old girl, calls him “a lit­tle b----” and reg­u­larly draws pic­tures of Brad get­ting stabbed through the head.

Then Wahlberg ap­pears on the scene, and the space be­tween the laughs con­tin­ues to widen.

He is Dusty, the kids’ bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther, a swag­ger­ing man-child hell­bent on wag­ing an everesca­lat­ing war with Brad to win over the lit­tle tykes.

Caught in the mid­dle is Brad’s new wife (and Dusty’s ex) Sarah, an eye-rolling car­i­ca­ture of a mod­ern fe­male which will re­main a ca­reer em­bar­rass­ment for the poor woman who had to play her, Linda Cardellini.

A few left-field bursts of sur­real slap­stick and ap­peal­ingly laid-back sup­port from comic Hannibal Buress (TV’s Broad City) point to what this lazy offering might have been with more ef­fort ap­plied.

All blame rests with Fer­rell and Wahlberg, who barely seem to be try­ing to lift this dead-weighted and dire ma­te­rial through­out.

Par­ents scan­ning cin­ema listings for some­thing ap­pro­pri­ate to park the kids at this sum­mer would be wise not to be de­ceived by the baf­fling PG rat­ing given to this movie.

Are chil­dren’s faces really go­ing to light up at the plen­ti­ful use of curse words heard through­out Daddy’s Home?

Do you want them com­ing home para­phras­ing charm­ing lines such as “bet­ter jack a baby up in there!”?

Then there’s the run­ning gags about the shape, form and re­pro­duc­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Will Fer­rell’s man­hood.

Not to men­tion the howl­ingly aw­ful mono­logue from co-star Thomas Haden Church about how women with fa­ther-aban­don­ment is­sues are al­ways easy sex­ual con­quests.

PG. Really? Aus­tralia’s cen­sor­ship gate­keep­ers must have but­tons for eyes and painted-on ears if they think this tawdry tripe be­longs on the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion level as The Good Di­nosaur and the new Alvin & the Chip­munks flick.

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