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