Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Big Short

Double A Rating

There is a genre of computer games called ‘idle games’ or ‘clickers’. The idea is that you dip in and out of these games, click on the screen and then come back later to click again.

It might sound as fun as being asphyxiated by a sweaty sumo wrestler but these games can become addictive. Why? Well, every 10 to 20 clicks the numbers on screen go up. You barely have to do anything, just click and voila! Bigger numbers!

Whilst the numbers keep going up you click more and more for bigger and bigger numbers. Before you know it you’ve forgotten that you have a job to go to or a baby to feed – I mean those numbers aren’t going up by themselves!

That’s also a pretty accurate description of how the worlds economy is laid bare in The Big Short – It’s a lot of people chasing bigger numbers without really caring about what’s happening because, well… BIGGER NUMBERS MAN!

The Big Short focuses on a handful of people who foresaw the economic meltdown in 2008 and bet against the (historically stable) housing market whilst all the big banks were busy watching numbers increase.

At times, this film feels like you are gatecrashing a party because you need to pay close attention to everything that is going on. If you are tired, or not fully committed to this film then you’ll not get the most out of it.

This is because the screenplay is fantastic.

If that doesn’t make sense, let me explain. The characters are constantly monologuing about the direct reasons for the economic meltdown. You’ll be bombarded with words like toxic, mortgage, bonds, AAA ratings, sub-prime, loans, BB ratings and collateralized debt obligation.

Unless you are in the finance industry you’ll end up so lost you’ll start screaming “WILSON!” unless you pay close attention to the volume of words that are thrown at you.

Even if you do pay attention you’ll eventually hit a point where you brain turns to soup. Amazingly though it’s at precisely these moments that the film says something like “Here’s Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath to explain”.

Whilst the run-up to these moments start to make you feel like you have an IQ of 13 these simple analogies make all of that hard work pay off by making it all click and you suddenly feel clever again. Me no dum dum no more!

It’s a remarkable achievement by Writer Charles Randolph and Writer/Director Adam McKay and is unquestionably worthy of an Oscar nomination for best screenplay simply for making you feel lost and found at the same time yet never resentful of it’s complexity.

On screen; there are only two stars. You can forget Ryan Gosling and to a lesser extent Brad Pitt because it’s Steve Carrell and Christian Bale who are the highlight here.

I’m not a huge fan of Steve Carrell but he was effortlessly funny in this. It’s not Steve Carrell trying to make you laugh but instead it is him playing a serious role of someone who is inadvertently funny. This is all enabled thanks again to the fantastic script.

Bale is equally as good but is on the other end of the spectrum. He is subdued, socially awkward yet highly intelligent. In fact it’s almost too good a portrayal of the character that I have to wonder if some of the traits displayed are indeed of Bale himself.

I love the way that the rest of the banking world are shown as pretentious fucks who casually gamble with people’s lives. This must be the way that 90% of high rollers act in finance.

It’s a shame though that the film doesn’t give much time to precisely these actions but the point of the film is to educate you on why it happened and not what the ramifications were.

My biggest complaint would be the shaky, faux-documentary cinematography that admittedly fits the tone of the film but I found shaky, soft and blurred focus shots distracting. It’s not enough to take enjoyment out of the film but I really didn’t need these distractions when I was desperately trying not to be stupid head.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Economic meltdown explained for idiots
+ Steve Carrell
+ Christian Bale


– Your full attention is demanded
– Dialogue Heavy
– Uninteresting cinematography
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The Revenant

Bear Skills!

Let’s get right to the point. The Revenant is two and a half hours of Leonardo DiCaprio being cruelly knocked down then pulling together all his strength an ingenuity to get his hands on that Oscar for best actor.

Even the title suggests Leo’s march towards Oscar stardom as The Revenant means: Someone who has returned to Oscar nominations… OK, I might have added a few words.

From start to finish this film can be best described as torture porn because the plot is incredibly simple: Red Indians attack a troupe of frontiersmen working for a fur/pelt trading company. During the escape Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) gets attacked by a bear, then his colleague John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), then the cold, then, then, then.

If death by a thousand cuts means lots of small bad things happening then The Revenant needs it’s own saying. Maybe: death by a thousand Mike Tyson’s wearing sharks instead of boxing gloves?

The biggest and most shocking of these cuts is the bear scene that you briefly see in the trailer. Unlike the trailer though this scene goes on for at least ten, unflinching, brutal, jaw-dropping minutes.

This scene is really incredible not because only because the effects are incredibly realistic but it also highlights Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s willingness to put the audience in a state of discomfort which in turn shows a self confidence about the movie’s direction.

That fact that the direction doesn’t waver in it’s depiction of horrifying imagery is invaluable because this is the path that the movie continues on with Leonardo DiCaprio putting in an incredible physical performance, braving freezing water and raw meat in search of his Oscar.

Personally though I found this performance to the detriment of subtlety in what little dialogue he has. In fact I thought DiCaprio was out shined by Tom Hardy; even if his role of Bane has proved an influence due to some semi-inaudible dialogue.

As good as Hardy is within The Revenant the star of the show belongs to the atmosphere that start at volume ten and never really gets turned down. This is thanks in part to the bland yet somehow overbearing soundtrack that rumbles in the background as if danger is just round the corner.

Once this was layered on top of the bleak surroundings, the merciless on-screen brutality and a thoroughly calculated pace I found it a truly captivating experience.

In my opinion the rate at which the film progresses is absolutely necessary to that feeling of dispair that drips from each scene adding a sense of honesty that feels sorely lacking in many a Hollywood film that tends to err on the side of sensationalism after all that shot of someone spilling a drink would look much better with an explosion behind it right!?

That said, I can fully appreciate that the pacing within The Revenant is not going to be everyone’s cup of mead as it is very slow so it’s one of those films that if it grabs you you’ll be hooked but if it doesn’t then you might find it more interesting to fight that grizzly bear yourself.

I’ve not looked into how much of this is based on real events but amazingly it IS based on real events. However true it is, Mr Glass has had one hell of a bad time, thankfully it’s given us a really good time, that is if you like seeing people desperate for Oscars!

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ That bear scene!
+ Brutal, honest, graphic
+ Tom Hardy
+ DiCaprio’s acting


– Too slow for some
– DiCaprio’s acting!?

 

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Room

Compartmentalised

You have to wonder whether Emma Donoghue took inspiration from Josef Fritzel when writing her novel because there are certainly some parallels.

OK, inspiration might be the wrong word because the only thing that Fritzel is really inspiring is the invention of a cannon that fires people directly into the sun.

It’s safe to say that this is a pretty grim tale of kidnapping, rape, neglect and physical abuse yet it somehow manages precariously balance itself somewhere in between a hope that is brushed with childish naivety and the harrowing emotional complexity which comes with this level of abuse.

Room manages to do this by telling the majority of the tale from the view of Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who was born and raised in ‘room’ so doesn’t understand that things on the TV are real because all he knows is bed and cupbaord and mum. These are all real to him.

Jack also doesn’t understand that he is the is the result of a horrific act but then he doesn’t need to because there are pictures to draw and cakes to bake. This is his mothers burden to bear for now.

I think it’s criminal that Jacob Tremblay wasn’t nominated for best supporting actor because his performance is astounding. He manages to perfectly capture the innocence of youth whilst showing an emerging frustration with the confines of his room and his own understanding of the world.

Of course, not all credit can go to Tremblay when the screenplay is an achievement in itself.  There is a range of complex emotions and scenarios that is either laid bare on screen or planted in your mind.

How does a kid cope with seeing the world after only knowing a single room? What happens when he finds out who his dad is? How do you deal with the trauma and how do you go about your life if you are Ma (Brie Larson).

Speaking of which, Larson also puts in a fantastic and complex performance and has been rewarded with an Oscar nomination for her role as Ma.

The film isn’t all roses though, you know… excluding the whole rape and abuse and kidnapping thing. There are a few areas where the film falls flat. The first of them being nasty Nick.

Now, anyone who remembers the UK’s first Big Brother will remember Nasty Nick but compare his nastiness (he tried to convince people to vote tactically) to Room’s Nick (he imprisoned and raped a woman for years) and Big Brother’s Nick suddenly seems like someone you’d want to marry your mum.

But the performance of Nick in the Room didn’t quite come across as menacing or as disgusting as it probably should have done.

Still, at some point, Ma and Jack manage to escape room in a scene that needed to be at least 15 minutes longer than it was. It only takes 5 minutes from initial escape to the police tracing the room.

It’s as stupid as: “Help, I was being held in a shed”, “A shed? Cool… I know where that is. Let’s go boy!” but it’s the ending that proves to be the biggest problem.

You don’t leave the cinema angry enough to punch the spotty cinema attendant, you’re not happy enough to kiss the person next to you and you’re not pumped enough to smash a litre of red bull and do a triathlon because the film ends on a relative low when compared to the emotional highs throughout the rest of the film.

Whilst the ending does just… sort of… end, it’s not necessarily bad and certainly isn’t to the detriment of the performances and quality of script. The highlight is Jacob Termblay as Jack and the little moments of happiness he clings on to make this film touching and emotional leaving not a single dry eye in the room.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Performances
+ Portrayal of innocence of youth
+ Complex emotional issues dealt with


– The escape
– Nasty Nick
– Flat ending

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The Hateful Eight

From Dusk Till Dawn

Hateful

With his own brand of hyper-violence and sharp yet natural script-writing Quentin Tarantino has not only changed the filmic landscape but also pushed the boundaries of modern popular films can be ever since the early 90’s.

More recently Tarantino appears to be focused on re-imagining fringe movie genres. Death Proof is an homage to 1970’s muscle car movies for example while Kill Bill holds moments of pastiche for Japanese martial arts films and even aspects that would feel at home in a Anime series.

I was really excited to see The Hateful Eight. A homage/pastiche of western movies seems like a perfect fit for Tarantino yet for some reason it only seems to have been given a limited release.

As it turns out the film has been shot in Super Panavision 70. I realise that probably means as much to you as a Shakespeare verse does to a raccoon but basically it’s a format that hasn’t been used since we may or may not have landed on the moon. This is important because it meant that cinemas had to dick around with their projectors – hence the limited release.

Super Panavision 70 utilises an extremely wide screen format which means you get to see big, beautiful, sweeping scenery shots in their full glory… or at least you would if 90% of the film weren’t shot inside or in a blizzard. Without truly utilising what this format has to offer feels as wasted as the resources needed for a court case about whether a monkey has IP right to selfie. Yes… that really happened.

If your local cinema does show the film then you’ll need to bring a wash-bag, towel, change of clothes and something to trim your leg or face hair because this is the longest film I think I’ve ever seen in the cinema.

The film is broken up into 6 distinct chapters to tell the tale of the bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) taking Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to be hanged in Red Rock.

The first 2 acts focus on John Ruth picking up hitch-hikers: the bounty hunter Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson) and Red Rock’s newly appointed Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walter Goggins). Due to the blizzard they have to stop at an inn where 4 other guests are staying but are any of them there to save Daisy?

These 2 chapters are really well scripted introducing us to Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) who is brilliant as the polite British hang man of Red Rock but fail to makes interesting rounded characters out of the rest.

The script poses questions of human rights, racial hatred and, of course, a heavy doses of ‘the N word’ which are clearly meant to shock and offend.

The 3rd act holds some exceptional dialogue between Warren and the other guests at the inn and utilises the racial tension to his own gain amidst an unravelling and intriguing ‘who done it’ type plot.

Things then turned. There was an intermission. No… really.

The second half sees farcical elements of dialogue, similar to a Coen brothers film, give way to farcical violence. Whilst some of these are indeed fun it feels to the detriment of the story.

Act 5 lays out, in painstaking detail, everything that has happened and why leaving absolutely no room for your own interpretation. All the earlier intrigue and possibility is absolutely blown out of the water.

The final act holds violence for nothing more than spectacle. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily detract from the overall experience, it does leave a predictable and unsatisfying ending.

Overall this could have been one of my favourite Tarantino films but I found it lost it’s way after my nap and shave in the intermission partly because it’s just too long. I mean we went in to the screening at just gone 6 and left at just before 10 – I guess I’m hateful it didn’t finish at 8.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Great dialogue
+ Samuel L Jackson and Tim Roth
+ Excellent production value


– Too long
– Act 5
– Act 6

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Creed

Rocksteady

“If he dies? He dies!” Those were words that, to this day, I find strangely haunting. I guess it’s probably because I heard them at an age where I could make sense of heroes, villains, life and death but couldn’t comprehend political underpinnings in Rocky IV.

This was also, roughly, the last time I cared about a Rocky movie.

There is a lot to like about Rocky IV, indeed it remained the highest grossing sports movie for over 20 years, but it comes with some of the same problems that made Rocky III questionable and Rocky V question whether there is a god.

To put it simply; Rocky Balboa was a simple character that my younger, more simple self, found it simple to understand. Yet these later films strayed too far from the humble, down to earth, character that made Rocky Balboa loveable in the first place.

Rocky from the first film would never have wanted to get involved with staged fights and Hollywood and street brawls and a fucking robot servant thing; at least not without a severe change of character that was never portrayed in the later Rocky Films.

Creed is a breath of fresh air in this respect because it makes Rocky humble and destructible again. It’s for this reason that I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would.

It didn’t start that way though with the opening line going something like “Adonis has been fighting again”. Adonis? Really? Out of all the characters in Greek Mythology you choose Adonis? It doesn’t really have the same ring as Apollo Creed and the idea of a god of endless beauty doesn’t really work when he’s stopping fists with his face.

Still, I guess it’s better than Apollo’s actual sons in Greek mythology. I’m not sure that Lamus would have worked but is it better or worse than Anius? Anius “The Hole” Creed?

Once I’d stopped gritting my teeth I was drawn in to the storyline. Adonis… #sigh#… Adonis is the son of Apollo Creed and an anonymous Mrs Johnson with whom Apollo had an affair with. Apollo died shortly after conception (spoiler alert for the 1983 Rocky IV film!) and we never find out what happens to Mrs Johnson but we know that Adonis spends time in a juvenile detention facility before being fostered by Mary Anne Creed; Apollo’s widow.

Adonis wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a boxer but wants to make a name for himself. Unlike Apollo’s always sunny attitude, Adonis comes complete with trust issues, anger management issues and an abandonment complex which actually sets him aside from his father more than he realises. These issues are acted out with a deft subtlety that makes Michael B. Jordan’s character not only one of fascination but also one that is, like Rocky, surprisingly easy to root for: “Go on Adon… err…. Mr Creed”.

Unfortunately there is not enough screen time for any particular resolution to Adonis’ insecurities so by the end of the film we see the exact same person only this time he is boxing on the world stage.

There is even less time to make his transformation from a home schooled, aggressive boxer, into a world class fighter slugging it out with the number 1, pound for pound, boxer in the world. Taking a step back and finishing the film with him being centre stage against the number 1 would have been enough, perhaps in a classic freeze frame of both fighters going in for a punch in classic Rocky nostalgia.

In fact, the ending was the least satisfying aspect of the film being just another boxing match with no real surprises. However; Adonis undertakes some unlicensed boxing midway through the film in an innocuous but technically amazing way.

Now, I love my long, unedited, continuous shots but the one in Creed is so good that by the time I realised it was a continuous shot it was almost over. The way in which the punches come in and around the camera as it circles around the fighters is wizardry that even Harry Potter would be impressed by.

Equally as impressive is Sylvester Stallone who delivers a truly earnest and heartfelt performance as the hero that time has passed by. Everyone he loved is gone, he’s too old to box and doesn’t have the inclination to train anyone. He is, by his own admission a relic.

It’s perhaps weird to think of Sly as an excellent actor but touching scenes as him poignantly reading to a newspaper to the graves of his dead wife and best friend prove that he unquestionably has it in him.

Strangely then; considering that Balboa himself barely throws a single punch, Creed is one of the best Rocky films ever made. That should ring alarm bells for people who don’t love the franchise and bells of joy for those who do because Creed is to Rocky what Jurassic World is to Jurassic Park and what The Force Awakens is to A New Hope by taking what made the originals great, throwing in a bit of nostalgia then gracefully and respectfully modernising it; even if it does, criminally, leave out that oh-so evocative music.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ A sly performance from Stallone
+ Continuous take fight scene
+ One of the best Rocky films

– Limited character development
– Missing musical score
– Final fight is underwhelming

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The Danish Girl

Coping Gay Men in Copenhagen

If I was to take a wild guess at what percentage of people truly know what it’s like to believe they are the wrong gender; I would estimate less than 5%. Sod it, let’s say it’s exactly 5% for the sake of argument.

I consider myself to be pretty firmly in the other 95%. I don’t know how it feels to be trapped in your own body and I have no desire to be a different gender no matter how cool it would be to have boobs, real boobs, not my flabby man ones!

What I need and what I think 95% of people need from The Danish Girl is something relateable, something to latch on to that answers the golden question: why. Perhaps this is portrayed as an itch you just can’t scratch or some sort of unquenchable obsession or addiction that lives with you every second of every hour.

No matter how this explanation is provided I need it spelled out so simply that even a brain-damaged rock troll could understand it. I need a really good, thought-provoking, script.

What I don’t need is a snivelling performance where the main character looks about to cry at any second; it’s the sort of look a baby gives you when they fall over and don’t know whether to weep or to continue on their mission to smear jam on the TV.

I suppose Redmayne has to be praised for an unwavering physical performance where he even bears all in front of the camera. I hate to use this word but it is a ‘brave’ performance and nothing proves this more than a scene that involves him tucking back his tackle to make a man-gina.

To me though, this became quickly irrelevant thanks to his role being wildly over-acted and the delivery of lines often being so wet they could be used to put out forest fires.

Redmayne isn’t helped by the script that provides very little contextual insight into the mind a trans-gender person and the turmoil that they must be going through ESPECIALLY when the person in question is the first person to attempt sex reassignment surgery.

Instead of being what could have been a vital study of the human psyche the script potters down melodrama road choosing instead to focus on the breakdown of a couple’s marriage to the background of gender politics. Important insights end up being reduced to hollow statements along the lines of “I need my husband back” and “I can’t do that”.

Although the film misses an opportunity it does start promisingly with Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) posing as Lili – his transsexual alter ego – for his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and then ultimately coming to terms with the realisation that he enjoys cross dressing. As the film progresses it becomes clear that Einar is becoming more obsessive about cross-dressing and even starts to find fancy with the male gender.

As we near the end of the film it becomes clear that Einar has always had these sexual leanings yet almost every moment of the film until this point has told you otherwise. The first half of the film is a coming-of-age or rather a coming-of-gender film only to be written off by his desire to be a woman supposedly existing ever since he was a child.

I can’t understand why Einar’s psyche wasn’t explored further, especially since the visual aspect doesn’t shy away from what is hard to watch, yet the dialogue is a dainty as Lili.

Perhaps The Danish Girl stays true to the book of the same name but the more I watched the more I found myself empathising with Einar even less than I do with grated carrot.

By the end of the film Einer has the first of his two operations and the film draws neatly to a close after an hour and a half. At least that’s what should have happened. In reality you are dragged along for another, punishing, final 30 minutes of drudgery where the film outstays it’s welcome.

It’s not even possible to take much joy from the early 1900s Copenhagen setting because there is only ever 1 main street that is shown, the rest of it being situated indoors but hey, at least the costume department did a great job of selling you on the time period.

Ironically, like Einar, this film is one thing but should have been another. It’s a soppy melodrama that should have been a hard psychological study. It’s a story of marriage rather than a story of gender and Redmayne overshadows his own physical performance with himself… Simply by being a man trying too hard to be a woman.

The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:

+ Brave performance
+ Decent costume design

– Overacted
– Too Long
Difficult to relate to the characters

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Joy

Miracle Flop

What could be more exciting and more worthy of a dramatic film than the invention of a brand new mop? A drama about train spotting? How about categorising beetle species or concrete pouring techniques?

This isn’t any old mop though, oh no, this is a miracle mop!

Unlike most awesome miracles this mop doesn’t make you cure the blind, walk on water or turn  said water into wine (although if it did I’d buy one yesterday!) this mop has the miraculous ability to wring itself which, admittedly, is all together less exciting than wine water.

Still, this is Writer-Director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) pairing with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper again, only this time Robert De Niro is also on board so what could go wrong?

Well, for a start, it’s a drama about a mop. Not that that should matter – I’m sure that there have been excellent dramas about the mundane – but it does matter because it hardly captures the imagination like a cold war negotiator – the last true story I saw at the cinema. I think David O. Russell is well aware of this because the mop isn’t often the centre of attention instead focusing on the titular Joy and her close family.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Joy Mangano; a woman who gave up her ambitions of inventing things in order to help with her father’s business and essentially be the only one who keeps the family semi-functional.

It’s actually J-Law’s performance which is one of the only truly great things to take away from Joy as her performance totally outshines almost everyone including a criminally under-utilised Robert De Niro who could be compared to an ice-cream truck; making a lot of a noise as he enters and then disappearing from memory until the next time he shows up.

Because the writing doesn’t make good use of any other family member the film fails to build dramatic tension around what should have been the story’s keystone. Even the most intriguing family member Mimi (Diane Ladd), Joy’s nan, dies half way through the film yet still continues to narrate the rest of the film which is all a bit odd. The family needed to be a really strong part of the story rather than what it ended up being which was seemed to be a mild inconvenience for Joy. Because of this the film has to rely on the Miracle Mop (Joy’s first invention) to make keep you interesting due to un-relatable characters.

Once Joy has invented her new miracle mop she tries to sell it at local hardware stores and super/hypermarkets without much success. It’s here that the film finally picks up a bit as we meet Neil Walker (Bradley Cooper) who offers a chance to sell her mop on QVC which is a revolutionary new way of selling products. Whilst not overly interesting in itself it does provide a fascinating viewing platform from which to observe the world of tele-shopping; a glorious world of subliminal messaging, peer pressure and consumerism are laid bare for all to see.

Once the QVC segment has run its course we are back into more dreary family drama around bankruptcy and patent ownership which, like my mum, takes too long to get to any sort of point. If the film had wrapped up quickly after Joy had made her appearance on QVC it might have felt a bit rushed but in my opinion would have been preferable as you do at least end shortly after some sort of high point.

Apart from Jennifer Lawrence the only other redeemable feature is that there is an Indie quality to the film. Slightly bizarre, slightly quirky, mildly charming yet the film doesn’t lean far enough into this aesthetic to make it truly leftfield meaning it is unable to… mop up… the other messy areas of the film. It probably won’t be much of a surprise to hear that the film ends up being a bland, by the numbers drama. In fact; you could say that the film is… Joyless…

No. You stay and I’ll go. Taxi for one!

The Good, The Bad & The Outcome

+ Jennifer Lawrence
+ Nice Indie aesthetic
+ Interesting glimpse at the world of telly-shopping

– Quite bland
– Too long
– Difficult to invest in the characters

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Daddy’s Home

Mano A Step-Mano

Unless you consider ever worsening geopolitical situations and increasing amounts of xenophobia to be side-splittingly hilarious there hasn’t been a whole lot to laugh about in 2015. The comedy films released this year haven’t exactly helped with some of them being so bad that it makes said geopolitics seem like a barrel of laughs with Donald Trump leading the charge.

Daddy’s Home is a new contender that attempts lift us from a year of repeated groaning and face-palming and is also the latest film to pair up Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg plus a few other insignificant people.

That might sound harsh or derogative but the film is really only about these two leads. The film is firmly focused on their relationship and the associated sense of one-upmanship that haunts the pride of all stubborn and stupid males; me included.

The premise is very simple. Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) is pathetic at being a red blooded male but is a caring and devoted step-dad to a pair of children who are at best uninviting to their new father figure. Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg) is a loveable alpha male but shies away from the responsibility of caring for his kids. Essentially Dusty is the equal and opposite reaction of Brad.

As soon as Dusty arrives Brad feels rightfully threatened as Dusty tries to work his way back into favour with his ex-wife and kids. This starts an escalating war of who can be the coolest dad in front of the kids.

It all starts with Brad wanting to show off and prove that he can ride Dusty’s motorbike which only leads to him driving it into the house and lodging himself in a wall. It’s a funny, yet short, scene but it’s also one that can be found in the trailer.

As a consequence of this scene Brad calls in the local repairman Griff (Hannibal Buress). Griff is quickly fired after Dusty convinces Brad that this is an easy job for two men, two real men, two manly men to sort out. At first when the typical racism jokes start flying due to Griff’s departureI had to roll my eyes. Griff is then invited to stay in Brad’s house (by Dusty) and I couldn’t help but think this would be dragged out longer than The Hobbit films.

However, the further the film progressed the more and more I liked Griff as a character even though he had little-to-no screen time it helped lighten the mood to have him pop-up at random points in the film to ask where food is or, surprisingly,  to throw in a stereotypical “is it cos I’m black?” type response.

The funniest part of the film for me was essentially the culmination of this one-upmanship when Brad takes the family to a Basketball game. After being shown up he gets drunk and sits by himself until he is given the opportunity to throw a three-pointer for a prize. He staggers on to the court continues to slam the basketball right into the face of a cheerleader. Whammy!

Whilst it’s funny to see Ferrell lose it at the basketball game it didn’t feel like anything new. Not all of it but most of the key points were, once again, in the trailer. This trait is, in fact, true of most of the film I’m just thankful it’s not as prevelant as some other comedies have been with their trailers. It is a comedy film and they want people to come see it so it’s not surprising that these key moments are in the trailer but care needs to be taken not to spoil the main film.

Talking of surprises this film doesn’t really have any, The comedy is pretty much exactly as you would expect and the storyline also follows this same pattern. That’s not to say it’s bad but it just felt a bit obvious and lacking any twists or surprises.

My biggest issue is that there fails to be any moral to a story that could so easily have had one. Whilst these two guys are basically becoming bigger an bigger idiots it must have an impact on the family around them. In the end there is a resolution to this stupidity contest but completely missing an opportunity to say that it’s OK for a dad and a step-dad to be in a child’s life or even if it doesn’t work out like that then don’t let it affect the children. All valuable lessons, all vacant in the film.

Overall Daddy’s Home is another acceptable yet ultimately forgettable comedy film in 2015. It didn’t really do enough to put a huge smile on my face at the end of 2015. Here’s hoping for a better 2016.

The Good, The Bad & The Outcome

+ The 3 pointer
+ Easy riding
+ Bro, do you even Griff?

– Lacks a moral of the story
– Nothing Unexpected
– Most of the best bits are in the trailer

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