Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
|Featuring:|| Will Ferrell … Brad
Mark Wahlberg … Dusty
Thomas Haden Church … Leo
Linda Cardellini … Sarah
Alessandra Ambrosio … Karen
Paul Scheer … The Whip
JoAnna Wortham … #48 Fertility Clinic Employee
Sue-Lynn Ansari … Guitar girl
|Producer:||Gary Sanchez Productions
“Dad versus step-dad”
Guess who’s coming to town? Nope, not Santa. Daddy. Biological daddy. Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) is the step-dad of both Megan (Scarlett Estevez) and Dylan (Owen Vaccaro). Being married to Sara (Linda Cardellini) for only about eight months, Brad is still trying to gain complete trust and love from his step-kids and vies for them to finally call him “Dad”. Their relationship continues to slowly develop until Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg), Sara’s ex-husband, decides to give the Whitaker household a call. But before Brad knows it, Dusty is on a plane and on his way to visit the new family for a few days, or weeks… Megan and Dylan are still very fond of their biological dad and start to begin to give Brad the cold shoulder. Much to Sara’s disapproval, Brad decides to do the nice thing and let Dusty stay at the house during his visit. All Brad wanted to do was become friends with Dusty and prove to him that he was a good father. Little does he know that Dusty’s visit will turn into a competition that could change his relationship with his new family. Or can Brad prove to his family and Dusty that he really is a good, loving, and caring husband and father?
“Daddy’s Home” appears to be a family-friendly film from its trailers and commercials. But this “family” film is layered with quite a bit of suggestive and crude content, in addition to a smattering of profanities. The sexual content contained is surprising for a family themed comedy, but relieving at the same time since it’s rated PG-13. There are no sex scenes, but the script has quite a few (sometimes crude) sexual references, including slang terms for both male and female anatomy. Unfortunately, it gets worse when Brad’s boss shares a little bit about his past escapades, including a one night stand, a topless maid, and a love interest who said her boyfriend was her son in order to get another man. A rhino is briefly seen humping another, and a dog is also seen humping a toy doll.
When Brad goes to the dentist, he accidentally gets an x-ray of his groin, instead of his mouth, which causes him to become infertile. This is a running joke in the film, as Dusty pokes fun at Brad and later takes him to a fertility doctor to see if Brad and his wife can have any kids. Their conversations include some crude sex references, talk of bodily fluids, and jokes about male genitalia. The doctor also has both men pull down their pants in order to “evaluate” their… no need to go any further than that.
There is no nudity, however, but jokes are made when the two men are compared side by side. Before Brad can pull up his pants, he bumps some blinds, causing them to go up. There is a party going on outside, and many people see him. We catch a brief glimpse of his partially nude back side. A quip is made about how good someone is with their hands, and Brad, for some odd reason, keeps a tampon in his tool box. A joke is also made about Brad wanting to have a baby, just to spite Dusty, and there are some close-ups of cheerleaders at a basketball game. A man is seen shirtless, and sometimes Dusty’s motives seem to go beyond not just wanting to impress Sara, but get her in bed again. Nothing happens, though, and it’s very subtle.
The film is scattered with profanities and vulgarities including around 15 s-words and a good 12+ combined uses of milder profanities including a**, b***h, h**l, s**k, d**n, c**p, b*lls, and p**sed. The word p**ck is thrown in, in addition to a single use of b***hole, p**sy (used as a put down), n*ts, “freaking”, sc**w, “wussy”, and a brief quip involving the vulgarity c**k. There are about 15 misuses of God’s name (twice paired with d**n), and Jesus’ name is abused once or twice, as well. The substitute phrase, “for Cripe’s sake,” is said once. Also, keep in mind that little kids sometimes use crude language in the film, as well. Characters are reprimanded for their language a couple of times, though, and sometimes apologize after.
The violence is very slapstick in nature but may surprise some viewers, as one character gets electrocuted and CPR is performed (played for laughs), a cheerleader and a child in a wheelchair both get pegged in the head with a basketball, and a character uncontrollably drives a motorcycle into a house and crashes straight through a wall. A boy talks about being bullied at school, and both his dad and step-dad give him some lessons in self-defense. A young boy later punches a girl, and a man punches another man.
There is no smoking in the film, but there is quite a bit of alcohol consumption, including one character getting completely drunk. Some racist jokes are tossed around a few times, and there is quite a bit of crude content, as well. A dog is seen urinating as a man picks it up, a joke or two is made about urination, and a little girl draws “poop” on a drawing she made of her step-dad. A dog is named “Tumor” because a character claims that “he grows on you”. A character mentions using a waste basket as a toilet, and a dog is seen about to defecate on the floor. The kids are a tad disrespectful to their mom and step-dad, at times, including an “I hate you” comment (an apology comes shortly after), some rudeness, and disobedience.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” —Ephesians 6:1-4 (ESV)
“Daddy’s Home” has its comedic moments and fair performances from both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. However, the story is quite predictable, unoriginal, and cliché. It also suffers from poor character and story development, including a weak script. The slapstick humor is quite funny, though, and there were a few good one-liners. The direction could have been stronger but fortunately the editing and cinematography are solid for a slapstick comedy. Overall, it’s not the best comedy in the world, but definitely not the worst either.
It is a shame. There is a lot to like about “Daddy’s Home,” as family values are respected and friendship is cherished. The relationship between ex-spouses and new spouses and kids and their parents (biological and step) adds a nice touch to the story, as Brad tries to develop a genuine friendship with Dusty, despite the fact that he is his wife’s ex-husband. The competitiveness between the two men is over exaggerated, but is quite funny, at the same time, as both men want to maintain a strong relationship with Megan and Dylan. Brad is a genuine family man and really wants nothing but the best for his new family. Despite being divorced, Dusty still wants to maintain a close relationship with his kids and maintain a friendship with Sarah. All that being said, Brad and Dusty do learn quite a few lessons about life and family while they take part in their competitive relationship.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Sadly, the makers behind “Daddy’s Home” decided to mar the film with unnecessary language and suggestive and crude content. From adults cursing and abusing God’s name to kids uttering mild profanities, this is a film that no parent should want their kids to see. Jokes at infertility, genital size, and crude sexual references do nothing but tear the audience away from the strong family and friendship values this film promotes. Ephesians 5:4 always seems to come to mind when I review crude films like “Daddy’s Home”: “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” While setting good examples, the parents in this film also set very bad ones.
All this being said, I cannot recommend “Daddy’s Home” due to its use of profane, vulgar language and crude and suggestive content. Hopefully, someday Hollywood will realize that you don’t need toilet humor in a film to make audiences (particularly children) laugh. Filmmakers have proved it in the past: a well-written film can be clean and funny at the same time. It may just take a little extra work, if they want the humor to be completely effective.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate to heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…“Daddy’s Home” is an ugly psychological cockfight posing as a family-friendly comedy. Laugh-free—except for some farcical, life-threatening stunts at the expense of Will Ferrell’s character, Brad—it is best avoided unless a movie that has the attitude and mind-set of a schoolyard bully happens to be your thing. …
—Stephen Holden, The New York Times
…don’t mistake this for family comedy, juvenilia notwithstanding. Brad’s visit to Dusty’s buddy the fertility doctor (Bobby Cannavale) isn’t exactly all-audiences material, and neither is Dusty’s fatherly advice about standing up to schoolyard bullies… [2½]
—Tom Russo, The Boston Globe
…Its rhythms are sluggish, its jokes predictable and the gags are set up with such thudding deliberateness that even the sight of Ferrell losing control of a motorcycle, careening through the air and crashing straight through his house barely raises an eyebrow. …When a dog named Tumor starts humping a Mrs. Claus doll (it sounds funnier than it plays, if that’s any indication), you know a movie has thrown in the towel, and you’ll probably do the same.
—Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter
…the forgettable comedy “Daddy’s Home” isn’t so much a lump of coal as an empty box. …the doc asks Dusty to expose his genitals to show Brad what he’s lacking and then asks Brad to produce a sperm sample in a room with a faulty window covering. …
—Geoff Berkshire, Chicago Tribune
…a formulaic comedy… It’s by-numbers filmmaking that rarely adds up to anything worth the price of admission. [2/5]
—Wendy Ide, The Guardian (UK)
…Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg bore in dated ‘Daddy’s Home’… [2/4]
—Sara Stewart, New York Post
…coarse language and vulgar, squirm-worthy humor… If you were thinking “Daddy’s Home” might make a nice movie to take the family to over the holidays, think again. …the movie falls flat.
—Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post