Being divorced sucks.
Do I really need to call a spoiler alert for that? Probably not. But I will for this review.
BQB here with a review of the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy, Daddy’s Home.
Do you remember when Ferrell and Wahlberg crushed it in The Other Guys? That was a comedy about the cops who never get the hot cases with lots of action. They were the other guys, the guys who get stuck with lame, boring cases, who find themselves in the midst of an action laden case.
I remember laughing my ass off in that one. This one? While it has a few knee slappers, I have to say, not so much.
I’d never tell someone to stay in a marriage that’s making them miserable. On the other hand, I worry people don’t have the stick-to-it-tiveness that past generations had when it comes to nuptials.
“To love, honor, cherish, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” People seem to take those more as general guidelines than hard and fast rules. People get divorced over silly things now. He left the toilet seat up. She uses all the hot water so I can’t take a shower. He doesn’t give me butterflies in my stomach anymore. She got a little chubby and there’s a girl at work who’s way hotter.
I dunno. That’s just my complaint. Especially when kids are involved. Like I said, I wouldn’t tell someone to stay in a terrible relationship but on the other hand, don’t pass up someone who’d be good for you just because she’s not perfect because you’re waiting for Angelina Jolie to show up (or Brad Pitt as the case may be.)
I digress. The setup? Linda Cardellini (Sarah) divorced her first husband, Dusty (Wahlberg), for a good reason – he just wanted to keep living a wild and crazy lifestyle instead of being there for his kids.
Enter Brad (Ferrell). Sarah and Brad get married and while Brad absolutely loves being a stepdad and all that comes with it (volunteering for field trips, helping out with school activities etc.) the kids won’t give him a chance because they miss their biological father, Dusty.
So bottomline. Dusty returns after being away. He wants his wife and kids back. Brad wants to keep them. The kids won’t connect with Brad but he is like a perfect male homemaker, which makes Sarah happy. Dusty, with his motorcycle and manliness and fun guy attitude is a hit with the kids, but no so much for Sarah, who doesn’t like being in the situation where she has to be the parent that doles out the rules while Dusty’s the fun guy.
The war is on with Brad vs. Dusty in a battle to win over the family’s hearts. Hijinx, pranks, and backstabbings ensue.
As a comedy, its more sweet than funny. The takeaway for me came from Brad/Ferrell’s advice on being a Dad to Wahlberg/Dusty – “Being a good dad is about getting shit on.”
In other words, you want the best for your kids. So you put up with a lot of crap. You take them to visit their friends even though you might think the friends’ parents are jerks. You get roped into volunteering to do a lot of extra activities and other adults complain about the help you are providing – you’d like to quit because you don’t want to do it at all but you keep going because you love the kids.
Even your kids will say and do shitty things to you. You can’t let it get you down or give up on them. They’re kids and they don’t know any better.
And especially, when you’re a stepdad, there are times when the kids hit you one too many times with the “you’re not my real dad” line when you’re trying to get them to do the right thing…and you might feel like, screw it, let the kid be a jerk then but you just have to get back in the trenches and be a good dad anyway.
So as I said at the start, being divorced must really suck. Sucks for the kids because they miss whichever parent isn’t there. Sucks for the parent that’s not around as much because he/she misses everyone. Sucks for the new step parent because he/she might want to be a positive part of the kids’ lives but the kids naturally see the new step parent as a replacement of the other parent.
So I guess try not to get divorced but if you have to, try to be as mature as possible about the situation. The kids aren’t really little monsters. They just don’t understand. Be like Brad. Take their shit and keep being a good stepdad anyway.
By the way, I remember Linda Carellini as the teenage girl from Freaks and Geeks. Why am I so old that she’s able to play a divorced and remarried mom now? And where the hell did all that time go?
STATUS: Not shelfworthy. You wouldn’t want to rush out to see it but worth a rental.