In a Nutshell:
Daddy’s Home is the first on-screen pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg since The Other Guys (2010). I caught that movie February of this year on stream and enjoyed it.
Sean Anders, the director for this movie, was responsible for the screenplay for one of my favourite comedies of the last few years: We’re The Millers (2013), the movie that Vacation (2015) should have been but wasn’t.
With that in mind I hauled myself to my usual cinema with the best intentions, still recovering from my wife’s delicious Christmas Day meal. I enjoyed Daddy’s Home for the most part; it’s a nice comedy. It’s just not anything that made my jaw continue to ache after my Christmas Day luncheon.
My main issue with this film is that it never really took off, or rather came alive on screen. It was too sedate, and it would have been served much better by a sharper script.
The movie–which doesn’t necessarily outstay its welcome at a fast paced 96 minutes–does in fact feature good chemistry. Its lead duo continue to prove that they are a good on-screen double act. As for Will Ferrell, well, he’s Will Ferrell. As the amiable, straight laced and slightly anal family guy, Ferrell is firmly at home, and the edges of the envelope are firmly intact. Mark Wahlberg goes toe-for-toe with Farrell on all fronts and steals the show as the confident, swaggering birth father, Dusty Mayron.
This is firmly a vehicle for its lead duo, so all other characters with the possible exception of Ferrell’s onscreen wife, Sara, (Linda Cardellini) fall by the wayside, including a miscast Thomas Haden Church (from Spiderman 3).
As I said earlier, the movie could have been served much better by a sharper script. As a result the movie is, at best, mildly funny. It occurred to me whilst watching it how much I wasn’t really laughing, which is a shame as I wanted to like this movie more than I did. It’s not particularly gross, but it does go a little low brow at times when a smarter script would have kept things more in focus. In addition, even though they had good chemistry, the line between the love/hate relationship between Brad and Dusty was hazier that it needed to be at times.
With the eternally amiable Ferrell at its heart, as well, the movie never strays from a predictably happy ending. But what an ending it is. It’s in the movie’s final act that the momentum starts to build, which culminates in one of the best endings to a comedy in ages. Daddy’s Home gets an extra star for that alone.