In 2010, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teamed for The Other Guys, which was a hilarious comedy directed by Adam McKay. The two have now joined forces again, this time for Director Sean Anders’ Daddy’s Home. Is their comedic chemistry still on point or is this just a shadow of their past success?
Brad (Ferrell) is a nice guy with a good job at a radio station. Recently, he married Sara (Linda Cardellini) and became step-father to her two children, Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez). It was a tough road in the beginning, getting the kids to accept him, but just as he is about to win them over, their father, Dusty (Wahlberg), shows up to try and win his family back. What results is a completely predictable and pedestrian comedy as the two fathers continuously try to one-up each other as they vie for the affections of the children.
Now, that last statement is not to imply that Daddy’s Home is entirely humorless. It definitely has some hilarious moments, but they mostly come when the filmmakers finally let Ferrell off the chain. The sequence at the basketball game had me crying from laughter. However, these moments are few and far between. The script by Brian Burns, John Morris, and Director Anders just isn’t that good. The producers could have plugged in two other comedians into this film and gotten the same result. Why cast Will Ferrell if you’re not going to use him properly? And while the film is very predictable, there was at least one twist that impressed me. Wahlberg’s character sets Ferrell up for failure in the scene, but Ferrell actually wins that round. I won’t go into spoilers, but that scene left Linda Cardellini’s character very happy. Speaking of Cardellini, she is completely wasted in this film. A lot of her behavior doesn’t ring true when Dusty shows up and she doesn’t really add anything to the film, which is strange since she is the children’s mother.
Ferrell’s character is similar to his character in The Other Guys, in that he’s a buttoned-down type, but he at least had some personality in The Other Guys. Here, he’s just bland. Again, he’s really funny when the filmmakers finally let Ferrell be himself, but they really tamp him down here. Wahlberg, as is usually the case, is only as good as the material is. He’s fine in the role of Dusty. It’s a role he’s cultivated in other films, just played here for comedic effect. The result is not nearly as effective as, say, Jason Statham in this past summer’s Spy. In that film, Statham played his normal role, but instead, he was the butt of the joke now. It doesn’t work as well for Wahlberg here. Thomas Haden Church shows up as Ferrell’s boss and has some funny scenes, but most of his work with Ferrell felt like they were trying to riff and improvise, but failing miserably. Bobby Cannavale has a nice cameo, while Hannibal Burress is mildly funny in his role of Griff, but he’s sabotaged by the fact that the character’s situation is completely unbelievable.
Overall, Daddy’s Home is a safe re-team between Ferrell and Wahlberg that is hampered, in part, by its PG-13 rating. The duo never seems to find the chemistry they cultivated on the R-rated The Other Guys and that’s due to the weak script. Now that Adam McKay is done with the stellar The Big Short and this wholly uninspired film is out of the way, can we finally get a sequel to The Other Guys?