Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this out. I’ve been working on cranking out my Best of 2015 lists and this review kind of slipped through the cracks. But here we are. Can Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reunite (after The Other Guys) and give us a decent holiday comedy?
Ferrell plays a straight-lace guy who is happily in love (with Freaks and Geeks‘ Linda Cardellini). She has two kids and Ferrell’s character just wants to be a good dad and the kids are slowly warming up to him. Things go sideways when the badass father comes back into the picture (Wahlberg) and wants his family back. We then get 90 minutes of them trying to one-up each other. We also have supporting characters played by Hannibal Buress, Bobby Cannavale, Bill Burr, and Thomas Haden Church.
By now, Will Ferrell’s movies have become pretty standard and by-the-book. Even comparing this to his other 2015 movie Get Hard, the two are surprisingly common. He plays the everyman who goes toe-to-toe with some other actor (Hart in Get Hard, Wahlberg here). You know exactly what you’re getting into, which includes some crazy CGI stunts (plenty of people getting thrown from things, falling from things, getting hit in the junk with things). It’s formulaic but that’s why a lot of people see this movie. And here, it works. It’s incredibly predictable but the journey is fun.
Wahlberg and Ferrell have a great chemistry and I was glad to see them reuniting. The humor hits most of the time, especially in a fun (and completely ridiculous) finale. If you want a comedy that you don’t have to think too much about, this one will totally scratch that itch.
What doesn’t work?
While some of the audience was rolling in their seats, I found myself underwhelmed with some of the humor. Again, some people absolutely loved it, but I found the “lowest common denominator” humor a little too much. It didn’t always hit for me.
And as I said above, it’s predictable and cliche, but for most of you… that’s why you’d go to this movie. So it’s not a total detraction.
You know already if you’d like this movie. It hits all the points you want it to hit, though the humor is often a little too crass for my liking. It seemed too easy. Ferrell and Wahlberg have a great chemistry, the movie’s plenty of fun, and if you expect nothing from this movie, you’ll leave having a good time.