Low laughs with deadbeat dads
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.