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Review: Daddy’s Home

The concept for Daddy’s Home is one that feels instantly and surprisingly out of date, as Will Ferrell’s Brad Whitaker is treated poorly by his stepchildren. The idea is that their birth father, Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) is the “cool” Dad, and there is simply no place for Brad, and while wife Sara (Linda Cardellini, wasted), does her best to include Brad, he’s just a doofus.

There is a game of oneupsmanship between Ferrell and Wahlberg, teaming up again after 2010’s The Other Guys that goes on for far too long, and a few scenes of broad physical comedy that just seem out of place in this comedy of supposed relatability. The Sean Anders-directed and co-written screenplay squeezes out a few laughs here and there, but the supporting cast (Thomas Haden Church, Hannibal Burress, Bobby Cannavale) end up getting most of the good lines. Although Cannavale played a very similar role to Ferrell’s in this year’s Ant-Man, while Paul Rudd was the Dusty character, here, his flamboyant fertility doctor is played for broad jokes and often works out. Too bad that he’s in like two scenes at most.

In fact, aside from a sly cameo at the end of the film, the main story sees Ferrell and Wahlberg going back to the well of familiarity far too often, as Ferrell has played this kind of outsider role many times, and Wahlberg demonstrates none of the growth from last year’s The Gambler.

Sadly, Daddy’s Home had the potential to be a commentary of the changing state of blended families. While the film is certainly watchable, there are very few moments that suggest that the film is little more than a diversion from the “serious” films and action sci-fi films that open on and around Christmas Day, and while Daddy may be home, he may be home alone. Its potential audience may be away seeing far more engaging films than this.

[star v=2]