I'm going to guess that the reason why someone decided to pair Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg to do another movie together was the simple fact that their last effort, 2010's The Other Guys, grossed almost $175 million globally, so why not take another bite at the apple again, a half dozen years later, right? Having seen bits and pieces of The Other Guys, I can tell you that Ferrell and Wahlberg's latest buddy movie, Daddy's Home, lacks Adam McKay, lacks a lot of laughs, and lacks whatever shreds of effort by its stars.
Daddy's Home is from a story by Brian Burns (Blue Bloods), who co-wrote a story with John Morris and Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2), the latter of whom directed. Ferrell (Get Hard) plays Brad Whitaker, who is a tranquil guy who works as a representative for a jazz radio syndicator, and is the stepfather to two small children, and the second husband of Sara (Linda Cardellini, Freaks and Geeks). When Sara's ex-husband and the kids' father Dusty (Wahlberg, Lone Survivor) comes back into their lives to make peace with Sara and Brad, the latter feels threatened because, well, look at Dusty! But seriously, things then devolve into a requisite 95-minute battle for the love of the kids.
When I say things devolve into a battle for children's love, it pretty much is that, a lot of passive aggressive joking about one person or the other. As direct confrontation would result in Dusty smoking Brad, things are more watching Brad getting beaten up and/or humiliated in other ways, like riding a reckless motorcycle through the house, or his car getting smashed up. As is the case of similar movies, the character arcs play out as you would expect them to, culminating with a resolution that, despite the inclusion of Bill Burr, seems to be Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg trying to remember they're in a family film and should do something wholesome, when it turns out to be silly.
Oh yeah, Bill Burr's in this. A surprise, right? Also, Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and Hannibal Buress appear in guest roles too, along with Bobby Cannavale (Boardalk Empire). They don't get a lot to do, save Buress, but it is nice to have them here. Cardellini even puts up the good fight when it comes to making Sara likable and more than a stereotypical wife character that just gets to smile and emote surprise several different ways to Sunday. But for the people who have to carry the labor in the film, Ferrell and Wahlberg do not devote a lot of investment into their characters. There were maybe 2 or 3 moments during Daddy's Home where I smiled, at best. Everything else? Stick tongue between lips, exhale to make fart noise. And as far as Wahlberg goes, he doesn't even do a good Mark Wahlberg impression in the film. If anything, he's doing a great impression of the guy on the "Doug Loves Movies" podcast who does a Wahlberg impression of him. It makes sense when you hear it, trust me.
On the whole, Daddy's Home seems like a bit of an excuse to get Ferrell and Wahlberg together again and thus people will or should bust their guts laughing, but it does not work that way, nor should it. It is a production with so much put in on the personae or recognition of the co-stars it barely brings a story together. More exactly, Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg have done their first of what could be several Adam Sandler films, and that isn't a good idea for anyone involved.The Blu-ray:
Paramount gives Daddy's Home a solid AVC encode on Blu-ray. You can spot couch fabrics and facial hair fairly easily, the color palette looks fine and the black levels in the film are pretty consistent. Whites push a tad toward the hot side, and the image doesn't have razor sharp, consistent detail all of the the time. For recent source material it could have been a little better, but overall is fine.The Sound:
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround, and the soundtrack sure does bring the boom when it wants to. Dusty's motorcycle (a Triumph) rumbles through the soundstage with the idling motor. Smaller effects like a basketball bouncing off someone's head have the ping of inflated leather against skull that is clear enough to make you cringe. Dialogue is natural in the center channel and requires little user compensation, and the soundtrack is a better than expected experience for this comedy.Extras:
There are a few things here, which makes things weirdly frustrating because the film is disappointing. There is a Making of on the film (11:54) where the cast and crew discuss how they came to the material and share their thoughts on working with their respective characters and with one another. "Daddy Off" (6:44) looks at the battle between the two Dads, while "Daddy Daughter Dance" (5:11) looks at the final sequence. "Halftime Stunt" (8:55) looks at a basketball and a stunt cheerleader's head, and "Tony Hawk Skater Double" (4:02) features the skater as he talks about his work in the movie. "Child's Play" (5:00) examines the work of the child actors, and "The Perfect House Guest" (5:36) shows the world Buress. A blooper follows (2:05) and five extended scenes (7:38) round things out with digital and standard definition copies in this package.Final Thoughts:
In the grand scheme of things, Daddy's Home isn't the best movie of the two-film Ferrell-Wahlberg canon, but even within their individual filmographies it's a disappointment. Technically the disc is pretty like but the extras are disappointing. Worth a rental for the Ferrahlberg fan in your life.