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DADDY’S HOME (USA 2015) **
Directed by Sean Anders
Review by Gilbert Seah
DADDY’S HOME is advertised as a movie with a dad vs. a stepdad. And in the words of the movie, the audience is to be shown the difference between a dad and a father.
As the film opens, a mild-mannered stepdad, Brad (Will Ferrell) is married to his new wife Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and living with her and her two children. The two children are yet to confide in him and Brad tries his best to be a good dad – poor soul. Farrell actually makes his audience sympathize with his character. Then enters Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), the real father who weasels his way into staying at the house. His main aim is to win his wife, Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and kids back. And Brad is too naive to realize what is happening.
The above story is nothing really special to write home about. The script is pretty lame and does not have much room for twists in the plot. What transpires is predictable. Dusty wins his children’s affection and Dusty tries too hard. Brad eventually, because of his good naturedness wins Dusty’s heart and together make one healthy family with two dads. It is a film where two males do their best to make annoying kids happy.
It is hard to make an unforgettable comedy with such a lame story. There is no big villain, no end of the world scenario and no action sequences. But given the limitations, the film does contain a few really funny laugh-out loud segments.
The film’s subplots are not that funny either. One involves Dusty inviting a black handyman, Griff (Hannibal Buress) to stay with the family. Another has Dusty bringing a mongrel, who obviously hates Brad, as a gift for the kids. And another has Brad’s boss, Leo (Thomas Haden Church) always having advice or a story to tell to Brad. These generate a few chuckles at most.
The film’s funniest moment occurs when it goes totally ridiculous – a characteristic of Will Farrell’s type of comedy. Brad tells his stepson who is bullied that to solve the problem is not to fight back but to do something else like a dance-off, with the added benefit that both parties end up getting fit. The climax of the movie is a dance-off which thankfully is really funny and almost saves the movie.
DADDYS HOME ends up a family film with few lewd jokes, the only one being Brad’s impotency as a result of a dental accident. Farrell and Wahlberg have worked together in THE OTHER GUYS and make a good team, all things considered. Hopefully, they will team up again in a film with a better script.
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