This film follows the story of a step-dad who struggles to fill the shoes of his predecessor. Though things start to look up for our hero (I use the term lightly), Brad Whitaker faces an even bigger challenge when his children’s biological father comes for a visit. To his dismay, Dusty Mayron turns out to be a rugged, wild, motorcycle riding hunk. The film comically follows the attempts of each to outdo the other resulting in Christmas gifts in April, a motorcycle through the wall, bribery and many other shenanigans.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (No seriously – sometimes it gets ugly.)
First… before you all judge my movie viewing decisions, allow me to explain.
We went to see this movie because my family has a history of liking Will Ferrall movies (albeit the mostly clean Will Ferrall movies). From the trailer, the humor looked a bit like the movie Elf, which my family also has a history of enjoying. It looked funny, lighthearted and pretty much harmless. (I also did not realize that it was rated PG-13… so there.)
To make a long story short, this is another case of a movie that put everything good into the trailer and left nothing for the actual movie.
The film’s intention was clearly to be a hilarious family comedy, so let’s address that first.
This movie was truly not that funny. At least to me it wasn’t. Did I find the scenes that were shown in the trailer funny? Absolutely. That’s why we went to see the movie. But I was expecting those scenes. They ceased to be funny after a time or two of seeing the trailer and therefore, were not that funny when I actually sat in the theater.
The rest of the film’s humor relied on crass (incredibly inappropriate) jokes that only made me cringe. It also made me wonder at the large number of little kids that were sitting in the theater. Most of it went over their heads I’m sure, but some of it went over my head. That is not a good sign.
As far as how this film was marketed, I’m very disappointed. It definitely was marketed as a family movie and I think that had something to do with how many youngsters saw it. (How I can walk into a theater thinking a movie is PG and being horribly wrong is beyond me.)
Second, the ending was awful.
I don’t think I’m going to get any arguments from people that did enjoy the film’s humor either. It. was. terrible.
The entire film was trying to explain the difference between the two fathers of the children in the movie. It showed us that Dusty was simply too wild to be a reliable father, but that didn’t mean he didn’t love them and couldn’t be involved. It showed us that though Brad was their step-father, he still could be reliable and love them just as much as Dusty. (I don’t think I’m spoiling anything for anyone in explaining this was a pretty predictable plot.)
Then at the end, it turns all of this on its head, shows us that Dusty can be a reliable father, and makes us wonder why Dusty ever turned rogue father in the first place. It also leaves us uncomfortable because although everybody seems happy, jealousy seems incredibly eminent for multiple characters.
People do not romantically share people. That’s why divorce is a thing. And when divorce does occur, it does not leave both parties in a situation where they could be comfortable being friends again.
The movie also showcased modern parenting ideals and dealt with the consequences of divorce and remarrying (and marrying the other guy in the first place for wrong reasons). Things that I believe are best left to Biblical sources.
Case File (Content Advisory)
So, I wasn’t really prepared for the content in this film and did not have my notepad to write everything down. (I would need a notepad to remember it all… there was a lot.) So I’m having my memory jogged by reading the Plugged In review. It’s a very good resource and I recommend checking it out.
Most expectedly, Dusty attempts to get back with Sarah going as far as to suggest if she’s “lonely” he’d be more than willing to “keep her company”. She (thankfully) slams the door in his face.
It gets much worse than that, however, when Dusty tries to help Sarah and Brad get pregnant by taking them to an infertility specialist. As I’m sure we can all imagine, nobody wants to go to an infertility specialist. Nobody wants to know what happens at an infertility specialist’s office. Including your audience Mr. Sean Anders (the director/writer of the film)! Though nothing is seen besides Will Ferrall’s backside at one point (why?) the implications and verbal descriptions are… a lot. Let’s just say it was incredibly scarring and if you won’t take my word for it, you can go read Plugged In’s detailed description here: http://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/daddys-home/.
Brad also has a boss that loves to tell us all about his adventures with his many ex-wifes.
I could go on, but to save you from the disgusting details, I’m going to end there. Like I said, if you’re truly interested, read Plugged In’s content advisory.
Moving on there is quite a bit of language. The ‘S’ word scored in at about 15 – 20, the ‘B’ and ‘A’ words scored in at about 6 each and God’s name is used in vain about 15 – 20 times.
All in all, the film did have some sort of vague attempt at being redeeming. It tries to showcase fatherhood and the sacrifices that dads make for their children. But it fell way short. Way short.
The problem with movies that try to have a good message but fill it with trash is I don’t end up remembering the good message. I feel like student in a high school literature class and the teacher has just asked us what the theme of a book is. I have just raised my hand and said “Fatherhood?“. Yeah that question mark? Not a good thing.
Excuse me please while I try to erase some of those horrible scenes from my mind.
1 Out Of 5 Popcorns (For MoviePilot peeps that's equivalent to 2 stars.)