BY MIKE STROMME
Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Step Brothers) and Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Boogie Nights) compete mano a mano for ultimate dad supremacy in Sean Anders’ (Horrible Bosses 2, We’re the Millers) latest comedy, Daddy’s Home.
Ferrell plays Brad Whitaker, a vanilla, white collar, by-the-book, suburban stepfather to two young children following their mother’s divorce. While Whitaker struggles to get the love and admiration from these kids, their biological father, Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg) comes back into the picture.
Mayron, who is described by his ex-wife in the movie (Linda Cardellini) as “if Jesse James and Mick Jagger had a baby,” comes back into the picture and havoc ensues. Mayron and Whitaker compete in a high-stakes dad-off for the love and admiration of the two children.
The even-keeled Whitaker is manipulated by Mayron into playing his game of “fun dad” any chance he gets. Mayron’s mind games lead to Whitaker attempting to do things that are clearly out of his comfort zone and that make him look inferior in the eyes of his young, impressionable stepchildren. Everything from Whitaker skateboarding off the roof, to attempting to ride Mayron’s motorcycle ends in injury and/or destruction for Whitaker.
Despite the presence of world-class funnyman Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and popular stand-up comedians Hannibal Buress and Bill Burr, the funniest character in the entire film is Brad Whitaker’s degenerate boss Leo Holt (Thomas Haden Church). Ferrell, who is known for taking on roles that make him look ridiculous, stays vanilla for the majority of this film. He doesn’t reach “vintage Ferrell” until a scene that takes place in the film’s latter stages where he gets inebriated at a New Orleans Pelicans/Los Angeles Lakers game and hits a Pelicans cheerleader in the face with a basketball in his attempt to sink a basket from half-court at halftime.
Even with the hilarious premise of bringing in a battle royale of sorts into a situation that is rather common in some domestic households, divorce, the film underwhelmed as a whole. It had a funny moment here or there, and there were some laughs. However, fans of his best work will be disappointed if they hold this film to the high comedic standards set by his previous work in Step Brothers and Anchorman.
I would only recommend the film if it was playing on cable on a rainy Saturday afternoon and a faulty Wi-Fi connection rendered Netflix useless. I give this movie two out of five stars.