Despite losing his way a little recently, I’m still of the opinion that Will Ferrell is the funniest man on the planet. The glory days of ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘Anchorman’ may be gone, but he’s still capable of producing the magic sometimes. The guy’s clearly an idiot, but he’s also a genius at the same time, and hey, maybe I’m an idiot for keeping the faith after the car crash that was ‘Anchorman 2’ (why’d ya do that to us Ron). But ‘Daddy’s Home’ is more than just the title of an above-average comedy film, it’s a statement that the old guy has still got it.
After fantastic chemistry on ‘The Other Guys’, Ferrell and the surprisingly hilarious Mark Wahlberg pair up again and slip into familiar roles. Will Ferrel plays Brad Whitaker, a man longing to have children, who has to settle for playing step-dad after a freak accident leaves him infertile. Things are going swimmingly for Brad and his ready-made family, until Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg), the badass biological father and ex-husband stops by with plans to reclaim his family. The whole film centres around Dusty and Brad as they compete to impress the family, with disastrous results for Brad most of the time, and pretty entertaining stuff for the viewer.
Ferrel does his simple, nice guy routine. Wahlberg is the bad boy, the one with all the attitude, the alpha male, as usual. These two together are fantastic, and whilst this doesn’t quite match up to ‘The Other Guys’ level of chemistry, it’s pretty damn funny once again. Popping up in support, Thomas Haden Church is excellent as Brad’s boss, Bobby Cannavale is quite amusing as the sleazy fertility doctor and Hannibal Buress, a man who continues to impress me, plays the handyman who moves in with the family (because why wouldn’t he move in). The woman at the heart of it all too, Sara, played by Linda Cardellini, riffs off both of her leading men nicely, but is certainly more than just a narrative device.
Okay, so this is a comedy, and all that really matters is – is it funny? The answer is yes, for the most part. Most of the jokes landed; some were a bit too silly and cheap, but equally some moments had me in stitches. That’s the only issue with Will Ferrell’s form lately – I feel like he’s relying on cheap, stupid humour and it’s not working out for him. Sure, ‘Anchorman’ and ‘Step Brothers’ are fundamentally “stupid” films, but it’s an unusual kind of stupid humour which is used very intelligently. ‘Daddy’s Home’ is close to bringing back this finely balanced comedic approach, but you’re always going to be held back when you decide to electrocute yourself in the middle of a skateboarding routine.
‘Daddy’s Home’ is entertaining, pure and simple. It’s an easy watch, it will have you laughing and it’s worth your time for sure. It’s nowhere near the levels of ‘Anchorman’, or even ‘Talledega Nights’ and ‘Semi-Pro’, but ‘Daddy’s Home’ is better than some of Ferrell’s simpler work like ‘Blades Of Glory’. If you’re a fan of Ferrel’, or indeed Wahlberg’s comedy work, don’t hesitate to watch ‘Daddy’s Home’, just don’t expect anything amazing.
Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini