'Daddy's Home' Review: Passable, but Barely
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.