Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Daddy's Home (3½ Stars)

"Most of what Dads do is take shit. It's what we do".

"Daddy's home" is a film that deals with a very serious subject in a comical manner. Will Ferrell plays Brad Whitaker, a hard-working radio executive, an all-round good guy. He marries Sara, a divorcee with two children. Sara was abandoned by her first husband, Dusty, because he wasn't willing to take responsibility. Dusty was a bad boy who liked to party hard. To sum things up, Sara's first husband was Mr. Excitement, and her second husband is Mr. Responsibility.

Sara is happy with Brad. There may have been a time in her life when she preferred Dusty, but now that she has children her priorities have shifted. She doesn't want a man who parties every day, she wants a man who will drive her children to and from school and other events.

Now Dusty comes back to visit his children. He does love them, even though it's too much of a hassle driving them around. Dusty's first impression of Brad is that he isn't good enough for his children and ex-wife. He pretends to be friendly, but he's secretly scheming to drive Brad away and win Sara back. As for the children, they love Dusty most as their real father.

That's the crux of the matter. It's something that every man who marries a woman with children has to deal with. In almost all cases children love their real father more than their step-father. It's natural. The step-father can never take first place in their hearts however much he tries. The best he can do is come a close second.

As already mentioned, this is a comedy. We see both men trying to be something they aren't. Dusty tries to take responsibility, but he isn't mature enough to succeed. Brad tries to impress his children by being as wild as Dusty, and he just makes a fool of himself in the process. Apart from that, Brad's attempts at being wild alienate his wife, because she doesn't want a man like that.

As a comedy, the film is packed with jokes that veer between slapstick and farce. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the humour, but mostly I was left cold. Maybe the subject matter is something that's difficult to laugh at? I'm not sure. Overall I was more impressed by Mark Wahlberg's serious acting than Will Ferrell's comedy performance.

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