Daddy's Home Movie Review
Directed by Sean Anders
Written by Brian Burns, Sean Anders
Release Date: 25 December 2015
Running Time: 96 minutes
Editor’s Rating: 3.5 Smooth Jazz Radio Stations out of 4
You know what animated show I think never got it’s fair shake? The Oblongs. It only had about twelve episodes, and mostly spent its days writhing in crappy time slots within Adult Swim’s lineup. It had a great ensemble cast of voice actors, from Jean Smart and Pamela Adlon to Will Ferrell, of all people, as the Oblong family’s relentlessly-optimistic quadriplegic patriarch, Bob. While he by no means carried the show, he fit perfectly as a cog driving the whole crazy train experience right off the damn rails. While his wife might have been a crippling alcoholic, his kids might have been borderline psychotic, and his job was as meaningless and soul-crushing as a typical day spent watching daytime TV talk shows, Bob Oblong would not be brought down. He just was too dang happy to be alive. Will Ferrell breathed life into a character that was just too fun, and he became one of my favorite characters in the series’ short 12-episode run.
Then he made Daddy’s Home, and you can imagine my surprise when I heard Bob Oblong speak once again. Ferrell’s character, Brad, is a super-nice guy who’s trying desperately to get in good with his new wife, Sara’s (Linda Cardellini), children. Like most movie children, they suffer from a disorder that accelerates their mental growth but doesn’t accelerate the physical, resulting in children that can make jokes that the over-eighteen audience get, but still renders them capable of childlike physical comedy, like kicking an adult in the testicles.
Finally, after months of bending over backwards trying to be an ideal father figure, Brad finally breaks through with Sara’s kids. They start looking up to him, allowing him to be a new dad because their own skipped out on them. But just as he starts getting comfortable and settling into his great new dad life, a phone call throws his entire life into chaos. Dusty, Sara’s ex-husband, has just decided to come back home. Brad, being Bob Oblong incarnate, decides to pick him up and strike up a friendship with him, despite Sara’s warnings that will not end well. From the moment Dusty ditches him at the airport, Brad starts to realize that Dusty might not want to be friends, no matter how much of a front he’s putting up in front of Sara and the kids.
There really is a lot to like about this film. Wahlberg and Ferrell are hilarious together, and this film is no different. Brad’s shtick of earnest niceness clashes with Dusty’s paper-thin veneer of civility, and the dork-measuring contest that ensues while they try to vie for the children’s affections is truly hilarious. What makes it even better is that while Brad may just be a regular milquetoast guy, Dusty seems to be amazing at whatever he does, becoming the voice mascot of the radio station Brad works for with absolutely no effort, netting him hundreds of dollars every time the commercial is played. Ferrell’s annoyance is so understated that you can feel Brad’s fists clenching under his lines.
The (not-so) downlow subtlety that Brad and Dusty’s competition is carried out with is another really funny thing to experience. It’s forced, purely American politeness that’s so great to giggle at, because it’s clear both of them hate each other. In a lawless society, Dusty would just return and destroy Brad, smiting his ruin upon the mountainside. However, Dusty’s physical superiority and innate charisma can’t counter Brad’s reliability and humility in modern society, and it obviously infuriates Dusty. It’s good times, it’s comedy through social contracts, and even better, when the ridiculous competition reaches a conclusion between Brad and Dusty, the script award Sara to the winner like other, lesser movies would. She actually is the only voice of reason in the whole crazy shooting match, but unfortunately for women and fortunately for people who wanted to see a funny movie, neither of them listen to her.
So have a sit and watch this. It’s a good time for anyone involved, and it’s got a great ensemble cast adding to it, including Thomas Haden Church, Bobby Cannavale, Bill Burr, and my personal favorite, Hannibal Buress. They take an already good comedy and make it great. Just don’t forget the popcorn.
**I rented this movie, put it in my Blu-Ray player, and laughed at it. I was not compensated for this review.**
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