12 – 96mins – 2015
THE OTHER GUY
I appreciate he has masterminded some truly iconic characters in the two decades since his SNL breakthrough, but I can take or leave Will Ferrell and quickly tire of his outlandish persona. This is probably why I waited until DVD to take this Daddy, err, home. That, and it was competing with The Force Awakens at the cinema, and I was always going to choose a return to my favourite sci-fi saga over a dom-com starring an actor I’ve never completely warmed to.
Thankfully (for me), as obliging new husband Brad Taggart, Ferrell’s zanier edges are softened in a less eccentric role than Anchorman and Zoolander fans are used to. Attempting to win over the affection of his wife’s (Linda Scooby Doo Cardellini) two children, Brad’s patience runs thin when her louche ex, Dusty (Ferrell’s The Other Guys co-star Mark Wahlberg), wheels back into town and immediately reconciles with his kids.
As Dusty’s impromptu stay is continually extended, his real motivation shines through his captivating bravado – he wants his family back and Brad out of the picture. The scene is set for a ‘duel of the dads’ as Brad tries to overcome his intimidation in macho-man Dusty’s presence, while stemming the wedge which is growing between his family unit.
It’s refreshing to see Wahlberg play such an obnoxious douche, and likewise to see Ferrell reel it in for a more straight man role – even if their temperaments are so obvious they verge on the stereotypical. Reserved though Ferrell may be, that isn’t to say that farcical scenarios don’t arise from this competitive rivalry (Brad casually agreeing to move Dusty’s motorcycle is perhaps the most improbably extravagant), but these are just average joes ambling through day-to-day life.
With the family dynamic shifting in Dusty’s unworthy favour as try-hard softy Brad squanders, Daddy’s Home does successfully rattle your composure, but it isn’t long before you’re laughing again – and I can honestly say that I was surprised at the number of belly laughs this Sean Anders directorial effort elicited out of me – and they saved the biggest for last in a remarkable school disco showdown. Sure it’s a predictable ‘frienemy’ story arc, but this is no dad – sorry, dud!