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Daddy's Home
Genre Comedy
 
Review:

Daddy's Home is a versus comedy that pits Will Ferrell against Mark Wahlberg, who previously co-starred in the hilarious The Other Guys. While the first half of The Other Guys was comedy gold, the second half was a bit of a letdown, which is probably how you'd describe Daddy's Home.

This is a domestic yarn about a stepdad, who gets sideswiped by his wife's first husband, who swoops in to take a shot at winning his family back. As you'd expect there's a lot of headbutting as the flashy biological father tries to schmooze past the stable stepfather. It's almost inspired by Modern Family, where a similar subplot played out as Ed O'Neill and Benjamin Bratt lock horns as Javier Delgado and Jay Pritchett.

While the Ferrell and Wahlberg pairing was luminous in The Other Guys, they're better as a team than adversaries and struggle to ramp up the same chemistry in Daddy's Home. Essentially, it should have been a surefire hit, but this isn't a typical Will Ferrell or Sean Anders film.

Ferrell is at his best when comedies are boisterous, over-the-top or just plain ridiculous. While writer-director, Sean Anders, is best known for raunchy comedy having created: Sex Drive, We're the Millers, Hot Tub Time Machine and Horrible Bosses 2. Comparatively, Daddy's Home is restrained, trying to mimic Modern Family for an equal dose of razor-sharp comedy and heart-melting warmth. Sadly, it falls short of this formula with more product placements than genuine laughs or heartfelt moments.

It's tame to a fault, diminishing the raunchy comedy of Anders and numbing Ferrell's rambunctious edge. You get the impression they're denying themselves in order to make a more family-appropriate comedy. The end result is bland with more misses than hits, leaning on Ferrell and Wahlberg's spark, which only really begins to flicker in the third act.

The product placements are blatant and annoying as the film starts with Ferrell openly advertising a family car mid-narration only to have a skate park suddenly sponsored by an energy drink. You understand that films need financing, but Daddy's Home may as well have had ad breaks.

While you keep watching in the hope that those infectious The Other Guys show up, they never do and it becomes a tedious exercise with little return. They try to rustle up some Office Space style comedy with Thomas Haden Church as a substitute for Gary Cole, but it's a sideshow and while probably the funniest part of Daddy's Home, it still feels a bit off-kilter.

The end result is a tame, uninspired comedy with Modern Family ambitions. The versus games are so-so, the comedy is lack-lustre and it only really starts to build in the third act, by which stage you're tired of sifting for laughs. The script doesn't work for these co-leads and director, who given their history, should've gone for something much more out-of-control.

The bottom line: Tame

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