director: Sean Anders
writers: Brian Burns & Sean Anders
starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini and Hannibal Buress
genre: Comedy | Family
released: 25 December 2015 (USA), 26 December 2015 (Australia), 21 January 2016 (Germany), 3 March 2016 (Greece)
When comedy duos work its best to milk them for all their worth, as chemistry and natural talent is not something that can be easily trained or directed. However, its not only this comedy's duo's presence that contributes to this film being such an enjoyable flick. It's the good mix of family friendly topics that are brought up that will strike a cord with parents and children alike, while also the slightly over the top gags and racy content that make it more memorable than other family productions out there. However, word to the wise, this film works best for ages of 13 and up.
All that Brad (Will Ferrell) ever wanted was to be accepted as a step-father from his new family and his dream was close to coming true. What stopped him short of being the happiest man alive was the arrival of the true father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) to the scene. Arriving with an out of the world attitude and coolness that will change the family's dynamic that was leaning Brad’s way. Showing that maybe both have a lot to offer when it comes to raising young children, despite their differences in approach.
It has to be a given that when Will Ferrell is in a film he will make the driest and most badly written of content slightly better. He’s that charismatic and funny that he was one of the main actors on 'SNL' that the other cast members couldn’t hold themselves but laugh with his performances and automatically raise the level of performances with him. So naturally many of the scenes in the film that have the jazz music that is cheesy (but makes sense due to the character’s employment) and his moments with the kids that could have been corny end up being unreasonably funny and even sentimental at times. As Ferrell is an extremely underrated dramatic actor and has a great handle of family oriented entertainment, that Adam Sandler sadly has stolen the glory for far too long.
Nonetheless, his talent and the powerful presence of Wahlberg and co do make this into a great pick for some casual entertainment. Even though, I still have to question slightly who this film is exactly made for. As it's marketed as a family film and much of the content in it could be said that it is not at all kid friendly. Such as the constant adult discussions regarding topics such as infidelity and then the racy and sexual humor that is funny but maybe a little too descriptive for young kids. Furthermore, there is the marketing of the film that pushes the family angle, the duality of the father figures and also the CGI death defying acts such as in the trailer that may have a place in 'Looney Tunes' but not in live action entertainment. Hence, you would think with this sort of promotional material it was intended for toddlers and their accompanying parents. Because once you see the film your taken quite aback by the content in it. So now knowing myself that the film was rated PG-13 after the fact, I still have to question the marketing and placement of CGI gags within the film. First of all, it's just an odd mix of surf and turf content that defies logic. As if the filmmakers had good intentions to make a wholesome film and either got carried away with inappropriate humor and gags or the studio sold it as a wholesome piece of entertainment and didn’t care that they weren't that honest about it.
But for all that, this sort of thing doesn’t ruin the film, it just will confuse viewers after choosing to watch it. As the film itself is pretty darn good with a great array of scenes on the duality of the both lead characters. One being the hard working nerd stereotype and the other being the cool but disappointing alpha male father figure. Both coming at odds throughout the film and succeeding under different circumstances to show their strengths. Additionally, the overall message of the film of what makes us different makes us also special and that we can always better ourselves even through adversary and conflict is a great one. Especially, if we keep in mind that kids will also see the film.
Now the film does take it a step further with jokes as mentioned before that defy logic and reason but still work. And also the highly unexpected amount of edgy humor that you would not expect in this kind of film but because of its edginess you got to give it to them for taking the risk and working it in miraculously within the context of the film. As a comedy's biggest success is when you start accepting the implausible and go along with it for great laughs and moments of joy. Great examples of this in the film is the character of Griff and his constant presence in the film and the kids development in the film when it came to fighting bullies. Which one scene after the other brought forth more laughter and scenes of unexpected comedy.
This is your atypical family film in that it has all the right messages and feelings you want to put out there for kids and parents to absorb and emulate. But goes that extra mile and kills it in bringing edgy humor and substantial arguments from characters throughout the film on issues that plague marriages and families. From the vast amount of responsibilities that exist, to the presence of parents within the community, while also the rising up to ones expectations. Therefore, if you have a family and your children are mature enough then this isn’t a bad film to see all together.