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31 Dec 2015

Good Enough: Ferrell and Wahlberg Are Funny in 'Daddy’s Home'—but the Film Could Have Been Better

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Will Ferrell, Mark Walhberg and Linda Cardellini in Daddy's Home. Will Ferrell, Mark Walhberg and Linda Cardellini in Daddy's Home.

The second pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg isn’t as funny as The Other Guys, but Daddy’s Home is still funny enough to warrant a look.

Ferrell is in bumbling mode as Brad, the husband of Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and the stepfather to a couple of kids who hate him. Just when the kids are starting to hate him less, Sarah’s ex-husband, Dusty (Wahlberg), comes back into the picture in a boorish bid to win back his ex’s love, reclaim his children and get Brad out of the house. This provides a setup that sees Brad subjected to various forms of humiliation and injury, including a calamitous trek through his house on a motorcycle, and a rendezvous with electrical wires after getting some impressive air off a half-pipe.

Ferrell and Wahlberg are funny together, and the movie does a decent job of making them both likable idiots. Thomas Haden Church steals scenes as Brad’s obnoxious boss at the smooth-jazz radio station, as does Hannibal Buress as a handyman who winds up crashing on Brad’s couch.

The film is nasty, but it’s neutered a bit by its PG-13 rating. It’s clear this is being marketed at families—but that’s a mistake right there. I’m sure there’s a nastier cut of this movie, and this movie suffers because it doesn’t go all the way with its sinister message. It pulls some punches, keeping it from being the dark comedy it deserves to be, and making it more of a feel-good film with some sinister undertones.

Still, I laughed enough, and the film is recommended to fans of Ferrell and Wahlberg.

Daddy’s Home is playing at theaters across the valley.

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