Review: Ferrell, Wahlberg deliver in ‘Daddy’s Home’
There’s a long joke about Cinnabon that is threaded throughout “Daddy’s Home.” It’s introduced early and revisited later with the payoff coming near the end, and while the reward isn’t huge, it’s irreverent enough to make you appreciate the care it took to deliver it home.
“Daddy’s Home” is much the same way. It doesn’t break any new ground, but there are some solid laughs baked into its script and enough left field touches to make it worthwhile. It’s second-tier Will Ferrell — it’s not in the same league as “Anchorman” or “Step Brothers” — but second-tier Will Ferrell is still pretty good.
Ferrell plays Brad, a mild-mannered executive at a smooth jazz radio station who is trying to earn the admiration of his two preteen stepchildren. And then their father shows up in the form of Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), who is all swagger and cocksure arrogance, everything that Brad is not. Naturally, they butt heads.
“Daddy’s Home” is a series of incidents in which Brad aims to do the right thing but flounders and Dusty effortlessly triumphs. You know where it’s headed. But it’s still fun getting there, and Thomas Haden Church (as Brad’s womanizing boss) and Hannibal Buress (as a repairman who comes to stay with Brad’s family) offer lively distractions along the way.
Ferrell and Wahlberg, who previously teamed up in 2010’s cop comedy “The Other Guys,” have enough opposite-ends chemistry to pull this type of thing off. Ferrell is a master at playing well intentioned but bumbling bozos, and he gives “Daddy’s Home” a warm heart it wouldn’t otherwise possess.
Rated PG-13: for thematic elements, crude and suggestive content, and for language
Running time: 96 minutes