I should have been reviewing Hateful Eight, that was what came out this week, but it was just over three hours long and I don’t have the stamina for that much Tarantino in one sitting. So instead I reviewed Daddy’s Home and I’m not sorry. Mark Wahlberg’s arms got me through Transformers: Age of Extinction, I wanted to see what they could do in a movie that wasn’t about giant CGI robots. Fair warning, as you might have already guessed, I might have loved this movie more than it deserved.
My goodness, Mark Wahlberg is attractive. He usually clocks in at about 0.802 Tatums but he seemed much higher in this movie. Maybe it was Will Ferrell providing contrast. Maybe it was him doing pull-ups with one arm, I don’t know. I’ve heard he’s not really that great an actor but he was good in this, or at least the role suited him. Will Ferrell was very funny, I like him better in the more down to earth characters. I also really liked Linda Cardellini – can that girl do subtext! She could say one thing while conveying something completely different with her body language. The child acting, a pretty common pitfall in movies like this, was also way better than average.
Daddy’s Home was pretty funny, I was laughing most of the time. As with many comedies, the humor wasn’t entirely even, there were some cringeworthy moments and awkward scenes, but I can forgive that because the rest of it was gold. Thomas Haden Church was hilarious. It was so funny it would be easy to miss how well it was written. The character goals and emotional states were laid out beautifully within the first few minutes while still being funny. The dialogue was completely believable and so were the characters.
One of the strengths of this movie is the fact that it deals with something almost everyone can relate to. Who hasn’t felt inadequate in the face of a rival? Who hasn’t worried about a significant other’s ex-spouse? It’s such a rich source of comedy and pathos and Daddy’s Home sets it up beautifully. They could have gone so many ways with it, so many possibilities (both funny and not-so-funny) and I really was satisfied with the way it all resolved. Anyone who has actually followed a situation like that to its conclusion might feel doubtful it could work out the way Daddy’s Home does, but that’s part of the Genre – it’s a comedy, not a docu-drama. There was a very feel-good message believably delivered very funny (a thing that every Adam Sandler movie tries for and fails).
So is this movie worth watching? Yes, rent it, you don’t gain anything from the big screen. If you are a fan of Mark Wahlber and his arms then definitely rent it. See it with the family (or quietly by yourself, that’s your business). I didn’t spend much time thinking about it after the credits rolled but I’m still glad I saw it.