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Film Review: Daddy’s Home: Two dads collide, and it’s hilarious

Wahlberg (The Other Guys, Boogie Nights) and Ferrell (Elf, The Anchorman), the comedy-duo deliver a barrel of laughs for all the family, in Daddy’s Home. The plot is simple, the soft-hearted stepfather (Ferrell) thinks he needs the approval of the trouble-maker biological father (Wahlberg), to convince himself of who the proverbial daddy really is.

What follows is a fun play on stereotypes and the subtle probing of what it means to be a father. Are macho dads just boys who never grew up? Are emotional men somehow weaker as fathers? The script covers the male identity as it navigates through what it takes to be a good father. It manages to tackle issues such as infertility and emotional territory while never quite forgetting that it’s a comedy at heart.
The kids are cast well with amusing and unfiltered one-liners, and Linda Cardellini (Bloodline, Mad Men) plays Sara, the woman both men are fighting for, and is arguably the most underrated character in the press for her role, even though she provides a solid anchor to both Ferrell’s and Wahlberg’s caricatures.

Often in comedies when a female actress is lumped with the role of the sensible character, fans take an instant dislike to her but Cardellini’s Sara is gracious and charms effortlessly, so much so we almost forget it’s a love triangle in the background. Playing a working mother who never stops being a good parent, even as the two dads fall over each other while competing, makes this movie one of the rarities in comedy where women are respected.

The script manages to deliver a solid female character who never feels out of place in the quirky script and is never reduced to just a love interest, which it manages to do by focusing the majority of the writing on the battle of wits between the two dads.

Written by Brian Burns, Sean Anders, and John Morris who are responsible for works such as We’re the Millers, Horrible Bosses 2 and the Entourage, the trio have created an entertaining script which never loses pace or plot, and is riddled with one-liners and comedy that never feels forced…and boy, can these guys write kids or what? Kudos to the writers!

Decorated with amusing parenting-gems like using bed time stories laden with metaphors to turn the kids against the opponent, the script is light and preposterous yet somehow entirely relatable and familiar to modern parents. The heart of the story shines through when both dads have to deal with their son being bullied, and demonstrates both fathers have strengths and weaknesses because, as everybody knows, there is no right way to parent!

This makes for an easy watch, giving the audience exactly what it wants, it knows it’s a comedy and it owns it.

Written by Hina Malik

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