Brad Whitaker seems to understand family life completely, or doesn’t he? Brad is married to Sara which makes him the stepfather of her two children: Megan en Dylan. Because of a strange accident at the dentist, Brad can not have children of his own. However, he seems to have peace with it and tries to be the best stepfather there is. Brad is a concerned father who hopes to become a real dad for Megan and Dylan. When the biological father of the children enters the picture, Brad feels threatened and does everything to prove himself as the best father.
The trio who are behind this gimmicky film, is Sean Anders, John Morris and Brian Burns. All three are not unknown in this kind of genre and they have often worked together. Anders and Morris are also responsible for the scripts of the films Horrible Bosses 2, She’s Out of My League and We’re the Millers. Those films are not high quality, but work pretty well for an entertaining evening. Reason enough for me to think that Daddy’s Home is just as entertaining. In the lead roles we see Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Ferrell, who is very familiar in the comedy genre, takes on the role of the geeky stepfather Brad. Besides Brad’s dull work, he spends a lot of time coaching and supervising children. However, soon Brad must confront Wahlberg’s character Dusty: the charming and cool biological father with an amazing motorcycle.
Dusty is Brad’s opposite. He does not follow rules and has a totally different idea of fatherhood. The fact that Dusty left his wife and children years ago, doesn’t matter for the story. In several ways, Dusty tries to take on Brad’s role as a father, and because of his rugged characteristics the kids crazy about him. A nice supporting role is played by Hannibal Buress, who takes on the role of handyman Griff. He is more of a sidekick who occasionally makes an appearance and makes a funny comment about the situation.
Unfortunately, Daddy’s Home is often bland, frustrating and there are also scenes that provide vicarious shame. This has less to do with the performances of Wahlberg and Ferrell, but more with the script. Ferrell’s character Brad is so weak and influenced by what the tough Dusty tells him, that it is almost painful to watch. Dusty knows how to charm people to get what he wants, and especially for Brad pays the price. There are several perilous moments. However, there are moments as well that are very funny and the writers have saved the best for last: The introduction of an other biological father, played by John Cena. But unfortunately the comic moments can be counted on one hand.
The film actually shows of how to educate your children: Brad’s quiet way where everything stays within the lines, and Dusty’s rugged manner who rather teaches the children how to fight and do dangerous and active things. The best way is probably a mix between the two, though both fathers have a different opinion. As the film progresses, the interaction between Brad and Dusty becomes more bearable, though the film is quite predictable – which is less bad than the frustrating aspect of the film. On the plus side, Daddy’s Home does not end with a load of feel-good elements, but with an interesting cliffhanger. In fact, a sequel with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell in the lead roles is coming!
Unfortunately, Daddy’s Home is not the funny comedy I thought it would be after watching the trailer and saw who was in it. In addition to the predictability of the film, it’s often frustrating to watch and there are various moments which makes you watch with shame. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell make the best out of their characters and as the film progresses, the interaction between the main characters is less painful to watch. Despite the moderate success of the film, a sequel is in the making, and hopefully we’ll see John Cena back as well!