What it's about:
A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when the kids’ freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing the stepdad to compete for the affection of the kids.
What we thought:Will Ferrell movies are always a gamble: it can either be a comedy classic (Anchorman, Blades of Glory, Step Brothers) or a barrage of idiocy leashed upon the unsuspecting audience (Land of the Lost, Kicking & Screaming, Get Hard). Daddy’s Home falls right in the middle on that scale – not amazing enough to leave you quoting almost every line in the movie, but not terrible enough to make you feel like you wasted your brain cells on garbage.
In the second team-up between Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, a dedicated stepdad (Ferrell) does everything he can to be the best dad to his stepchildren. Everything was going well until their biological father (Wahlberg) arrives on the scene in all his badass glory. Feeling threatened, the stepdad does goes overboard trying to keep his family, while the badass tries to win his family back. Of course, chaos ensues.
For a script that isn’t that original or strong in the comedy department, director/co-writer Sean Anders did a good job of keeping Ferrell on a short leash in the gags department, which could have easily gone into the ridiculous realm, but instead it was just enough to give it that Ferrell feel. The movie actually delves quite a bit into what makes a father into a dad, and a great ending keeps it just above mediocre status.
However, a better writer would have done for some better one-liners, and unfortunately you had a good laugh at most of the jokes but nothing that left you in stitches. The plot was predictable and there wasn’t any scene that really stood out as a classic Ferrell or Wahlberg moment. There were also some sexist undertones and a throwaway black character that was completely forced onto the script with no real impact on the plot. It felt like Griff, played by Hannibal Buress, was only added as a last-minute to make the film look less white.
Ferrell and Wahlberg are a good comedic duo though, a good balance between Ferrell’s gag comedy and Wahlberg’s macho routine, and I hope to see them make more movies together in the future, just with a better script. The two child actors who played the children caught between the fight of who’s the best dad, Owen Vaccaro and Scarlett Estevez, were also great compliments to the veteran actors, showing great comedic timing at such a young age.
All in all, a fun movie but it’s nothing that will leave you in stitches. Ferrell fans would probably prefer a bit more over-the-top humour from their icon, but the people who prefer a slightly toned down comedy will prefer this to his other work.