HOLLYWOOD—Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell teamed up together back in 2010 for the comedy “The Other Guys” which I found to be one of the funniest flicks of the year. Not to mention it showcased Wahlberg as someone who could do funny just as well as comedy. Well the two have teamed up once again for the family comedy “Daddy’s Home.”
I entered the theater with the notion that the premise just sounded way too silly to even be funny, but boy was I surprised by the outcome. Unlike “The Other Guys” which was a bit raunchier than this tale, the laughs here are just as epic without pushing the boundaries too far to scare of certain audiences.
The flick revolves around Brad (Ferrell), a down-to-Earth rather calm radio executive who is finally getting props for being the step-dad to his wife Sara’s (Linda Cardellini) kids Megan and Dylan. This is something that I would argue many kids might be able to connect to. It’s not easy diving into a dynamic where you portray the paternal or maternal role to another adult’s kid(s). Most kids consider a step-dad or step-mom as moving in on territory that belongs to a blood relative.
“Daddy’s Home” doesn’t go too heavy on the thematic material; instead it attempts to showcase the bond through funny, outrageous and seriously hilarious moments. I mean c’mon everyone has seen that scene with Brad launching that basketball at the head of one of the cheerleaders at the basketball game. Even though you know it’s coming to actually see it transpire delivers that much more of an impact on laughter.
Brad finds his world turned upside down when the kid’s father, Dusty (Wahlberg) decides to re-insert himself into his ex-wife’s life once again. Dusty is a bit of a bad-ass, he’s everything that Brad wishes he could be and for Dusty, Brad is everything he wishes he could be. In simple terms, each of them could utilize a piece of the other.
It soon becomes a war, when Brad and Dusty realize the other is a threat to their happily ever after. They do their best to charm the kids; they do their best to charm Sara. Its war, and with war there are no prisoners. Cue the gags that include a motorcycle ride gone wrong, basketballs being thrown at the least likely subjects, bullies and a dance-off to end all dance offs. All I can say is that dance-off is indeed memorable between Dusty, Brad and the kids. Hannibal Burress, Paul Scheer, Thomas Haden Church, John Cena, Alessandra Ambrosia and Bobby Cannavale all lend their talents to round out a cast of characters that all bring something unique to the table.
While “Daddy’s Home” definitely delivers the laughs, its message of highlighting the importance of blended families in society is more impactful. If you’re one who has step-parents or siblings or if you happen to know a person who does, it’s apparent that it’s no easy task to get the new step-mom or step-dad to like the kids and vice-versa. This movie lets everyone know, regardless of age that while change may happen, it is not the end of the world.