Daddy’s Home

 photo daddys_home_zpsmwctg3sm.jpg photo starrating-halfstar.jpgI wasn’t going to review Daddy’s Home. I absolutely hated it. So much that I didn’t even want to ever think about it again. But then it became a hit. Since Dec 18th Star Wars: The Force Awakens has loomed large over everything else at the multiplex. That makes the success of Daddy’s Home even more incredible. While Oscar hopefuls like Concussion, Joy, The Big Short and The Hateful Eight all compete for an audience, this meager comedy outperformed them all with $120 million dollars. I can no longer ignore this. It has incurred my wrath.

It’s a sad coincidence, but Will Ferrell actually managed to co-produce the 3 worst movies I saw in 2015. No joke. Daddy’s Home, Get Hard, and Welcome to Me were the very dregs of everything I saw. It wasn’t always this way. Will Ferrell was once a favorite of mine. I consider Elf, Blades of Glory and Step Brothers to be among the funniest comedies of the 2000s decade. I even liked The Other Guys, the last flick he made with Mark Wahlberg – his onscreen co-star here. That makes his recent output all the more depressing. He can do better.

Brad (Will Ferrell) is married to Sara (Linda Cardellini). Right from the start we learn Brad cannot produce children of his own because his groin was subjected to x-ray radiation at the dentist. The script thinks it is important that we know he is infertile. The implicit-association is that he is defective and enfeebled. He is, nonetheless, a loving stepdad to her two young children. The children, who come across as ungrateful brats, hate him anyway simply because he isn’t their real dad. Megan draws a picture of Brad with “homeless man poop” on his head. However after 6 months of sycophantic behavior, Brad is finally starting to fit in with the family. That is, until the kids’ biological dad (Mark Wahlberg) decides to show up and re-enter the picture. Dusty is presented as a more handsome, athletic, macho dude that rides a motorcycle and knows the coach of the Lakers. He ingratiates himself back into their lives much to the consternation of Brad.

This is probably a good time to point out that that the entire narrative is based on a battle of egos to determine male superiority. Brad is unceasingly shown as not being able to measure up to stereotypical standards of masculinity. Will Ferrell has built a career on being an affable buffoon. He’s always been a passive milquetoast, a cloying entity desperately seeking approval. Daddy’s Home relies on those character traits, but here he amps up the obsequious sensibilities of his character to the point it becomes embarrassing. As his feeble attempts to win his stepkids’ love intensify, the more pathetic he seems.

I’ve never been a fan of comedies that derive laughs at the expense of a poor sap who is the obvious butt of jokes. It’s a very low form of humor because it relies on the degradation of another human being. Will Ferrell is a virtual whipping boy of ugly and mean-spirited humiliation. In fact, he’s emasculated to such a degree it becomes excruciating to watch. Despite the evidence that Brad is a nice guy, everyone comes to favor Dusty over Brad. This includes his boss (Thomas Haden Church), the handyman (Hannibal Buress), and the fertility doctor (Bobby Cannavale). Even his own wife (Linda Cardellini), who originally wanted nothing to do with the freeloader, is seduced by Dusty’s self serving ego-driven shenanigans. Here’s where the plot defies logic. Apparently Dusty thumped his chest the loudest.

Tonally Daddy’s Home is an unholy union of raunchy humor unconformably shoved into an account concerning children. Nowhere is this more disturbing than when Dusty improvises a fairy tale to the kids about the “real king” and the “step-king” in a way that paints Brad in a negative light, including the relative sizes of the men’s “swords”.  I’m trying to figure out where the script hits rock bottom and I think sexual innuendos in a children’s bedtime story is the nadir. If this schizophrenic mishmash were only guilty of being painfully unfunny, then I could have dismissed it as just another lowbrow farce. Yet the screenplay has the unmitigated gall to tack on an inspiring coda at the eleventh hour that retrofits this dirty adult comedy with an uplifting moral. You see Brad’s fathering skills ultimately redeem all of his male deficiencies. That this appalling piece of filth eventually shapeshifts into a kid-friendly sermon makes the film too pernicious at which to even gaze. No one should see this vile film. Avert thine eyes!

12-31-15

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26 Responses to “Daddy’s Home”

  1. I will definitely “Avert thine eyes” from this movie. Funny review man.

  2. I honestly fail to find Daddy’s Home remotely as offensive as you do. To me, it’s biggest sin is simply that it is inconsistent, but that might be because I have no real issue with the film’s exploitation of masculinity stereotypes. However, I have read several other reviews like your own which paint Daddy’s Home as an execrable piece of garbage with an offensive and outdated worldview. I guess I just find it difficult to not at least find some humor in Wahlberg and Ferrell ‘ s interactions since they have such great comic timing. However, I have been curious about why exactly some people hate this movie with a passion, and your review perfectly spells it out for me. Even though I disagree, this was a well-written and often times amusing review. You don’t hem and haw at all, telling us right away that you hated this movie.

    • Thanks. I’m glad I was able to convey exactly what I hated about this film.

      Some of it has to do with the script’s questionable philosophy on life (worldview) but most had to do with simply making a human being the object of scorn and ridicule. The way Will Ferrell was constantly emasculated, I just felt bad for him. It was sad, not funny to me.

  3. Not a bit surprised. Nothing about the trailers were funny or even remotely intriguing. And they are supposed to contain the film’s selling points? No thanks!

  4. imustseemovie.com Says:

    I agree he made some bad movies but they all made tons of money so Hollywood and him will continue to make them

  5. Wow, you liked “Step Brothers.” I thought “Step Brothers” was DREADFUL and disliked “Elf” so it would really be wise for me to avoid this one. Will Ferrell is pretty much an annoyance for me.

  6. Now I’m dreading having to watch this movie.

  7. Didn’t like it then?
    But thanks for my word of the day… milquetoast (had to look that up).

  8. I walked into a theater that was almost packed at 10:30 last night. I couldn’t believe it. It’s amazing how well Will Ferrell still sells these days. I was expecting an almost empty theater.

    I think peer pressure got me to laugh along with some of the groups sitting beside me. I came out not really caring either way about it, didn’t dislike it as much as you but I 100% see where you’re coming from on it. The turn-around at the end was cringeworthy. And the whole tone of the movie is pretty mean-spirited. Hard also to ignore the fact the comedic moments are hampered by its rating, though that’s less of an issue. This thing just wasn’t *that* funny

    • It felt like an ‘R’ movie. Then at the end it was like some uplifting morality play. You can’t have it both ways, I thought to myself. That was supremely irritating.

  9. This was really bad. I know it’s supposed to be dumb and fun. This was just too idiotic. Will Farrell was awe ful. 1 star

  10. I love that you decided to hate review Daddy’s Home. Ferrell also used to be one of my favorites, but I agree that he’s been producing some real stinkers lately. His character sounds pathetic, and making him the butt of so many emasculating jokes sounds down right mean. The penis gag you mention sounds way too over the top. I think I would also be just as angry about the tacked on moral. Glad I didn’t waste my time on this piece of crap.

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