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Daddy's Home


Stars: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Haden Church, Bobby Cannavale

Director: Sean Anders

After their deserved success with The Other Guys, Ferrell and Wahlberg team again, to occasionally side-splitting but on the whole less inspired effect, this time casting Will as the milquetoast stepdad to new wife Cardellini's two kids.

Just beginning to bond with them after eight months of marriage, Will finds his position threatened by the return of his wife's bike-riding, charismatic, muscle-rippling ex (Wahlberg). 'If this guy was my wife's ex,' Will's boss (Church, funny) tells him, 'I'd put a bullet in my skull.'

No surprises here then that all Will's attempts to compete end in disaster: there's a few mildly rude gag moments, and some laugh-out loud slapstick involving motor-bikes and skateboards.

And yet the film still isn't quite there. 'That was almost good,' a colleague remarked after the preview, and he hit the nail on the head. Ferrell and Wahlberg are a bit too knowingly settled into their familiar comedy stereotypes, the fun is by no means consistent enough, and Anders' direction could be a bit snappier at times.

Talking of snapping, not nearly enough is made of the scruffy, wall-eyed dog Wahlberg brings into the household, apart from the usual pee-and-poop doggy jokes. All in all, it's undemanding entertainment that just needed a bit more cutting wit and occasional outright goofiness in the dialogue to score a home run.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Paramount. Technicolor.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Dec 2015