Director: Sean Anders
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini
Spoilers Within: No
Originally posted 14th March 2016 on Letterboxd.
It’s a superficial admittance to say that one of my main reasons for watching past the fifteen-minute self-imposed cut-off mark was the perfect visual dream of Linda Cardellini, but that’s where my enjoyment began and ended. Without her glorious presence, this film would have remained unwatched, though she unfortunately wasn’t enough to keep Daddy’s Home from being a one-star laugh-free vacuum.
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell have – with this one film – possibly trashed any good will I had toward them. Though it’s not entirely their fault, they didn’t exactly bring anything distinct to their long-running, wearisome schtick. I honestly can’t remember a joke that landed: every gag was foreseen, slapstick was atypical, gross-out humour was feeble and desperate. Nothing new here, just boring, monotonous sophomoric humour.
Aside from the aforementioned Cardellini, the rest of the cast were a total waste, ranging from the unjustly underused Hannibal Buress (he of The Eric Andre Show and Broad City) to the wholly detestable duo of Thomas Haden Church and Bobby Cannavale. No one had anything good to do or say, rendering the entire film pointless in every aspect, vacant of laughs, heart and charisma.
It’s a mean-spirited film that never gives Ferrell’s gentle stepfather a break. The story puts him through the ringer several times – both physically and mentally – and then we’re told to find humour in this endless bullying and enjoy the company of Wahlberg’s wretched behaviour because he wears leather jackets, rides a motorbike and walks around to the backing of AC/DC’s T.N.T. Cool.
One final thing: I found it hard not to draw comparisons with the much maligned The Cat in the Hat. The evidence of this association is there – fractious parental figure turns up and wreaks havoc and destruction on a suburban household – but that’s where the basic similarities end. The Cat in the Hat was actually funny in its own way.