When Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg last teamed up in The Other Guys, the resulting film worked well for both actors. Clearly, they’re hoping that teaming up again will work out just as well, but with director Adam McKay tackling weightier subject matter at the moment, the pair are instead left with Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2). Expectedly, Daddy’s Home has a handful of moments that work rather well, but they’re buried in a larger film that doesn’t work to the skills of either of its leads.
Brad (Ferrell) is a radio executive who’s finally starting to connect with his new stepchildren after recently marrying their mother, Sarah (Linda Cardellini). The timing’s perfect, then, for their biological father, Dusty (Wahlberg) to resurface with the intention of winning back his family. Cue the (relatively mild) hijinks.
As Dusty manages to work his way into Brad and Sarah’s house, Brad and Dusty begin engaging in a series of scenarios that are fairly consistent. Dusty will do something cool, like ride into town on a motorcycle or doing some tricks on a half-pipe he’s built in the backyard for the kids. Brad will try to do the same thing, and the results are disastrous. And that’s the bulk of the film, when it comes to Ferrell and Wahlberg.
At least their characters are consistent, though. The supporting cast gets a random assortment of character traits. Cardellini bears the worst of it, as Sarah’s character shifts depending on what the plot needs at the moment, regardless of if it’s supporting Dusty or Brad. Hannibal Burress gets a random supporting role as a repairman who basically moves in after Dusty bonds with him. Thomas Haden Church gets the character with the most random contributions: as Leo, Brad’s boss, he frequently overshares stories from his past to Brad. It’s ridiculous enough to provoke some laughs, at least.
Daddy’s Home isn’t anyone’s idea of a fresh new comedy. If anything, it’s the perfect example of a film where the trailer gives away all the best bits (or most; a funny twist at the end introduces a new obstacle for Dusty). There are some moments that are genuinely funny, but they’re a small part of a longer, weaker film.