Daddy’s Home is passably entertaining, occasionally funny, and mostly harmless (unless you fail to read the reviews in advance and take an eight year old, assuming that it’s more of a broad family comedy instead of a wildly inappropriate movie for anyone under the age of 12. I’m terrible at my job sometimes. Bygones.).
There’s not much to the film that hasn’t been revealed in the trailer: Will Ferrell plays a straight-laced, earnest and bumbling step-dad trying to win over the affections of his step kids. Just as he begins to make inroads, the biological father (Mark Wahlberg) returns with a heavy dose of Fun Dad. The competition over the kids eventually gets so out of hand that Ferrell’s character finds himself at half-court at a Laker’s game drunkenly berating Wahlberg’s character in front of 20,000 people, including his wife.
It’s a hard movie to hate because Wahlberg and Ferrell have such easy-going chemistry together, while Hannibal Burress also steals a scene here and there. Linda Cardellini is mostly wasted, while Thomas Hayden Church collects a paycheck for being obnoxious. I won’t begrudge them the easy money.
With all the other options in movie theaters, I’m not sure why $45 million in moviegoers showed up over Christmas weekend to watch it, but those who did were rewarded with a movie befitting TNT on a hungover Saturday afternoon. It’s dumb, but it’s not Adam Sandler dumb. Then again, it’s only about 20 percent as good as The Other Guys, so adjust expectations accordingly.