Daddy’s Home (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

Daddys Home 75It’s the worst kind of comedy.


Daddys Home 500

Daddy’s Home is one of those horrible Adam Sandler-type movies, but with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, something I can only construe as a sneaky attempt to draw audiences into the theater who expect something of the same caliber as The Other Guys. The script has all the signs of being reworked to death by numerous punch-up sessions, with a room of writers throwing whatever random lines into the script that might pass for jokes. It’s the kind of movie you just loathe, but it also makes you feel terrible for everyone involved.

Wahlberg and Ferrell play dad and stepdad, respectively, to two children. The two compete for the affection of the kids and the approval of the mother, leading to numerous, often repetitive antics. This kind of rivalry functions better when the pair have to work together, like in The Other Guys, but falls apart when they are working against each other. Wahlberg and Ferrell have proven themselves to be a worthy comedy duo before, but this time their talents are completely wasted. Linda Cardellini, who has gotten a depressingly low amount of substantial roles since TV’s Freaks and Geeks (a terrible waste considering how good of an actress she is), gets shoved to the wayside in the role of the passive and frustrated wife. Pandering celebrity cameos pop up frequently. Respectable character actors like Thomas Haden Church and great comedians like Hannibal Buress sink depressingly low as blandly eccentric supporting characters whose only job is to spew half-thought-out one-liners. It’s the worst kind of comedy, the kind where poop references and genital-related humor are thoughtlessly shoved in without anyone, during any stage of making the movie, ever stopping to consider if it would actually be funny.

If I could write just a three-word review, it would be “Bad. Don’t see.” I really don’t want to sound salty, but this was one of those rare, depressing theater experiences where the movie is terrible but the audience seems to be eating it up, making you feel completely removed from humanity. I felt like I was trapped inside a recording of a studio audience. The room would vibrate with laughter at something as little as Will Ferrell delivering one line of expository dialogue. This was nothing compared to the ear-splitting roars generated by the image of a dog humping a Mrs. Claus figurine. The only explanation for this phenomenon that I can come up with is that the audience was experiencing some sort of denial-induced mass delirium, because it was the only way to cope with such a senseless waste of 90 minutes of their life.

I’m not here to judge. There’s no sense in berating anyone for liking a movie. So I will give you a full disclosure to counter my snarky attitude. The worst audience member of all was me. I’ll tell you why. Lazy, profit-driven comedies like this are shamelessly transparent about product placement, and I stupidly fell victim to it. One of the recurring “jokes” in this movie is that Will Ferrell’s character drives a Ford Flex, and the positive features of this vehicle are “humorously” discussed at one point between him and Wahlberg. At one point, Wahlberg’s character makes the family cinnamon rolls, and we later find out they were from Cinnabon, because they were obviously too delicious and good looking to have been homemade. At the end of the film, I actually was going to drive to the mall to get one, because it gave me a craving for them. The realization that the blatant advertising in this movie actually worked on me felt awful. Because of that, I will now be paranoid about how easily I am persuaded by coercive media images. I also can’t eat Cinnabon for at least six months out of spite. Thanks, movie. | Nic Champion

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