Daddy’s Home, review: ‘A household chore’

15:41 21 December 2015

Will Ferrell and Linda Cardellini in Daddy

Will Ferrell and Linda Cardellini in Daddy's Home. Picture: Paramount Pictures/Patti Peret

? 2015 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

There are plenty of laughs in this family comedy send-up, but its basic humour ultimately lacks substance, says Michael Joyce.

Daddy’s Home is a very funny, but ultimately joyless movie. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg might seem like a desperate pairing but their previous film together, The Other Guys, was a gloriously funny parody of buddy cop movies that was an extraordinarily perceptive look at how Hollywood distorts the discourse on crime. This new film has them take on the world of family comedies and though it takes a similarly free spirited swing at its conventions, it is subservient to them.

Ferrell is the cheerful PC ninny who is desperate to be a good father to his two step children. He devotes himself to them but they still hate him – when the daughter draws a picture of the family he takes comfort when she draws him with a knife stuck in his head because at least he isn’t already dead in this picture.

Then, just as they are beginning to look up to him, their real, cool biker dad (Wahlberg) turns up and starts trying to weasel his way back into the family and back in with his ex wife (Linda Cardinelli), who – like all wives in Hollywood family comedies – is never allowed to be funny and has to do all the serious stuff.

In amongst this there are plenty of very funny lines and inspired sight gags but the basic comic generator is so repetitive – Ferrell the chump being run rings round by the super cool Wahlberg – that even as you are guffawing heartily, it is hard to feel any affection for it. It’s breezy and fun, but basically it is still just a household chore.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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