A week after his frequent director Adam McKay proved that he can make big boy movies, Will Ferrell is back… and just as man-child as ever. Daddy’s Home is yet another in the long line of often-goofy, perfectly harmless comedies from Ferrell. And though there’s nothing as cringe-worthy as most of Adam Sandler’s recent “work”, there’s nothing exactly memorable here, either. It’s getting to the point where if you’ve seen one Ferrell comedy, you’ve seen them all.
It’s fine, you’ll laugh, and life will go on.
Daddy’s Home stars Ferrell as Brad Whitaker, a step-dad to the two pre-teen kids of his wife Sara (Linda Cardellini). Neither kid is enamored with Brad, to say the least, but life is still pretty decent in the suburbs– until Sara’s ex Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) rolls back into town. His jacket is leather, his guns are blazing, and his walk-up song is AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. He’s clearly more “man” than Brad, and he dishes out plenty of passive aggression and innuendo to back it up… which, naturally leads to Brad humiliating himself early and often to try and stay relevant.
Directed by Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2), Daddy’s Home does what it’s supposed to, but you can’t shake the feeling that there was plenty of untapped potential. Ferrell is his usual self, and he plays well off Wahlberg, but minor characters like Hannibal Buress’ pesky handyman and Thomas Haden Church’s lecherous boss end up stealing the show and almost demanding their own spin-offs.
The script by Anders, along with Brian Burns (Entourage) and John Morris (Dumb and Dumber To), does take some time to infuse a little heart into the proceedings, touching on bullying and infertility along the way, but the comedy is Three Stooges-esque at several points, which makes the film feel overall like it’s more gimmick-driven than an actual smart comedy.
There’s nothing fatal here, certainly; Daddy’s Home is enjoyable. Ferrell is funny, Wahlberg is good, and you’ll get your ten bucks worth of laughs. But a week afterward, you’ll probably forget you ever saw it. At least until the next Ferrell movie comes along.