Cert: 12A / 96 mins / Dir. Sean Anders / Trailer
Wow, this might be the Will Ferrell's laziest movie since Get Hard. No wait, this is Will Ferrell's first movie since Get Hard. Although it's also both. He's joined in this thankless endeavour*1 by comedic deadweight Mark Wahlberg, who starred in a Transformers movie that was less mechanical than this. Every step in the three-hand screenplay is heavily telegraphed, patronisingly executed and then called-back half an hour later, where it's congratulated by itself as it pats the audience on the back for remembering the thing they were just shown.
But let's be entirely fair, Daddy's Home doesn't fail as a formulaic, broad-strokes comedy. The film is every bit as slapdash and uninventive as it means to be, and as much as I'm bitching and moaning about it, I wasn't in the least bit surprised by anything that happened. It's not necessarily badly done, it's just blandly done, refusing to drive outside its own metaphorical coned-off safe area*2 and recycling the tropes from a hundred other slapstick, one-upmanship comedies while bringing nothing new to the shrieking party. Although even with a 12A certificate nerfing-out the worst excesses of the genre, the movie is still too tonally coarse to be the kids' comedy flick it clearly should be, and can't quite commit to either side of the dick-joke fence.
Considering Daddy's Home is just the single premise from the trailer stretched out for an hour and a half, it doesn't half drag its feet in telling that joke, and the more that the antics escalate (you've seen the punchlines in the trailer, remember), the more pedestrian it somehow becomes. Wahlberg at least appears to be enjoying himself a little as the resentful blowhard dad, but Ferrell's earnest counter-performance slips into autopilot with the first line of his sporadic (and needless) narration. Linda Cardellini and Bobby Canavale seem to spend their scenes silently consoling themselves that at least they're part of the Marvel universe now, and poor Hannibal Buress looks embarrassingly lost throughout.
If anything, the film is absolved slightly in that I've seen both leads in worse movies than this one, and I'm genuinely not sure if either can better themselves any more. Steve Carrell is off making waves in the grown-up's pool, Ferrell is still splashing around in his armbands…
Warning: The film also features the worst CGI-enhanced motorcycle gag you've witnessed this year, irrespective of many many or few CGI-enhanced motorcycle gags you've seen this year.
Oh, and I confess that I did laugh out loud in the film's finale when a young boy punches a young girl in the face, although I think that was just a release mechanism since I'd been sat there willing someone to be convincingly hurt for about an hour and a half…
If you're one of the poorly-behaved customers which surrounded me tonight on their annual post-Christmas cinema visit, chattering and yapping throughout the movie and generally acting like Screen 4 was their own living room, then apparently so.
Telly, if you must.
If you're going to look me in the eye and tell me you enjoyed Daddy's Home, I expect you to have some weapons-grade reasoning to hand…
There isn't, although it is used for the skateboard/powerline gag in the trailer.
Daddy's Home stars Linda Cardellini, who was in the Scooby Doo movies with Freddie 'Kanan' Prinze Jr and Sarah Michelle 'Seventh Sister' Gellar.
*1 By which I mean that I'm going to thank no-one for this film.
*2 Although there was one moment in the third-act where the script suddenly tries its hand at being self-referentially meta, at which I thought "Oh, don't you fucking dare. You haven't earned the right to make fun of what a mainstream comedy-flick would do in this situation, since you're barely at that level yourself…". Although unlike (seemingly) the rest of tonight's audience, I didn't say this out loud. Plus, I didn't have to; I knew I'd be typing this...
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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