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Despite all-star cast, ‘Daddy’s Home’ delivers middling performance

(Official 'Daddy's Home' Facebook Page)

(Official ‘Daddy’s Home’ Facebook Page)

Although “Daddy’s Home” did have some chuckle-worthy moments, the movie flopped from the comedic gold that could have been. Ferrell and Wahlberg have great chemistry, but this movie really suffers from lazy writing. There wasn’t a single moment that genuinely stood out.

My biggest gripe with this film is that it failed to pack a punch like I was expecting it to. Given that the cast boasted two of the most praised actors in the comedy genre, I feel like the movie could have been funnier. The entire time I was waiting for a big comedic payoff, but it never came.

“Daddy’s Home” stars Will Ferrell as Brad, a radio station executive who tries to be the best stepfather to his wife Sara’s (Linda Cardellini) two children. Everything’s going great until Sara’s ex-husband Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) comes to town. As Dusty amazes his children with his athleticism and bad boy attitude, Brad tries to constantly one-up his rival, mostly ending in epic failure.

Some scenes in this movie were generally tough to get through. The reason why Brad is so committed to his stepfather role is because a terrible X-ray accident has left him infertile. In response to the news, Dusty takes Brad to a fertility clinic. This is followed by an awkward scene of the doctor standing in front of Dusty and Brad, who are both not wearing pants. While nothing explicit is shown on the screen, very graphic statements are made about their male anatomy making this scene cringe-worthy.

Another uncomfortable moment occurs at the Pelicans game that Brad took his family to. Brad eventually gets drunk and is selected to attempt a half-court shot for a prize at halftime. This scene stops the movie in its tracks. It made me think of “The Hangover 2,” which tried too hard to be funny. I wish the screenwriters gave Ferrell and Wahlberg more room to maneuver and add in their own flare. Instead the movie felt like they were trying to shove jokes down your throat and that felt uncomfortable.

The film also feels quite repetitive. “Daddy’s Home” is a generic PG-13 comedy that fails to separate itself from the pack. I feel like we’ve seen this storyline many times in the genre, where two rivals go toe-to-toe, and despite getting beaten up in the beginning, the underdog makes an epic comeback and walks away triumphant.

“Daddy’s Home” isn’t all that bad, though. This film does have a decent message for those shy beta males out there. In most cases, one would think Dusty, the strong alpha who does hundreds of shirtless pushups a day would easily beat a shy, naïve, smooth jazz radio executive. In this story, however, Brad wins many battles and sometimes humbles Dusty – he teaches him that patience and gentleness are good qualities for a dad to have.

“Daddy’s Home” was not a terrible film, but I was disappointed because I had high expectations for its all-star cast. That said, it offers viewers a few decent laughs despite some awkward parts, so it’s worth the watch – but it’s probably best to save this one for bargain day at the local theater.

Tyler Movsessian can be reached at tmovsessian@umass.edu.

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