Crass and forgettable comedy that pitches Will Ferrell against Mark Wahlberg
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reunite after the hilarious The Other Guys but fail to bring the magic this time with a predictable and disappointingly lowbrow comedy about fatherhood from Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2) that literally turns into a dick-measuring competition at one point. In what comes across like crude one-upmanship, Anders and his co-writers Brian Burns and John Morris repeatedly resort to lazy assumptions about masculinity that have a nasty whiff of sexism.
Brad (Ferrell) has been living with his new wife Sarah (Linda Cardellini – who deserves way better than this underwritten role) and forging a good relationship with her children for nearly a year, when her unreliable ex-husband Dusty (Wahlberg) re-enters the picture with the intention of usurping the new man of the house.
What starts out as a sweet-enough premise, with Brad’s unwavering love for his new family being tested by an aggressive alpha-male, quickly turns into something crass and mostly unfunny. It does have its moments, with Ferrell turning on his most adorable comedy face during his early interactions with the children, but as his campaign against Dusty gets more confrontational the reliance on poorly-realised, violent slapstick becomes a wearying cycle of repetition.
Instead of giving Cardellini anything interesting to do, the writers make the decision to insert two more male characters into the mix: Brad’s foul-mouthed radio station boss Leo (Thomas Haden Church), who cracks offensive jokes about his multiple ex-wives; while the wonderful Hannibal Buress (Broad City) appears as a handy-man who is invited to move into the family home by Dusty. Buress is a welcome addition to the cast but his one-liners unfortunately fall flat.
Daddy’s Home essentially takes one joke and spreads it very thinly over its 96-minute runtime. It may occasionally make you chuckle, but it is also entirely forgettable.
General release from Sat 26 Dec.