Father’s, a staple in many families to teach wise lessons, take care of booboos, and hopefully impart some wisdom and love in their families. Unfortunately, many Hollywood film fathers fall on the opposite side, portrayed as selfish losers, who flee when that woman announces a bun in the oven. If they stick around, well they don’t often shine in the brightest light. And it is this trend that has provided kindling for my movie review tonight to rise from. Father Figures starring Ed Helms and Owen Wilson released this weekend, in hopes of providing the comedy spirit of the season amidst all the other released. What lies in store? As always read on to find out.
-Consistent Pace: Most movies can be enjoyed, or at least less annoying, when the pace is consistent and moves to minimize unimportant tangents. Father Figures is one of those movies that does a bang up job keeping the plot moving, going from point A to point Z in a linear fashion with few side trips. As such, the film remains entertaining, given the limited comedic strategy involved in this film.
-The Ending: Perhaps one of the few twists I didn’t predict all the way through, the ending is a great finale to salvage some parts of the film. After all of the silly, unemotional sequences in the film, the ending scenes really bring things into a feeling rich brilliance that sort of seals the deal on all the relationships. Cheesy? Absolutely, but the editing, the score, and the acting all mesh together to bring the journey to a very satisfying end that might be a little bit of a tear jerker in this desert of drab humor.
– Katt Williams: By far my favorite aspect of the movie is Katt Williams as the Hitchhiker. The trailers only highlight the comedy this character brings to the screen. His timing is better than the two leading characters, with a delivery that comes out more naturally and fluid to maximize the laughs. In addition, the directors managed to develop a new comedy scheme for him, using him as a volunteer psychiatrist who somehow seemed to have all the answers, but be awkward about it. They didn’t abuse his character, which perhaps resulted in why he was my favorite part of this movie.
–Predictable: Let’s start out with a minor dislike and work our way up. Father Figures’ comedy is dependent on two things: Your love vulgar comedy lines and trying to make it relate to the story. Unfortunately for the second factor, the story is very predictable and with it the comedy is also predictable as well. You’ll see both jokes and plot twists a mile away, leading to a rather mundane holiday comedy that has nothing to do with the holiday spirit. And despite all the opportunities for twists to the adventure, the movie failed to act upon the potential, instead choosing for shallow comedy shout outs.
–Lazy Writing: I’m all about a good stupid laugh or two, but many know how much I hate for curse laden dialogue with little point. Certainly not the worst of the offenders, Father Figures relied too heavily on the cursing to do the heavy lifting. A good F bomb or two can get the emotion of the scene wrapped up, but the constant use soon becomes a space filling ploy with little else being accomplished. In addition, much of the writing is repetitive, not necessarily like a good running joke, but the fact that the same lines that keep coming up over and over again.
Victim of Trailers: My friend Tim subscribes to the thought of avoiding trailers to avoid ruining the movie. That’s a good philosophy for this film, because even seeing one trailer spoils a lot of this movie in more ways than one. Father Figures fails to deviate from its advertising in a good way, and depending on how many times you have seen the trailers, determines how stale the jokes are going in. My theater didn’t laugh much in this film, and a few stated this is because they had seen it on the trailers already. In fact, most of the deviations from the trailer came in the form of scene deletions and/or alterations in lines to be more R rated. I don’t know if they were that desperate to decrease the run time, or if the scenes didn’t fit into the grand scheme, but nevertheless, those differences did not help the movie.
If you thought Father Figures looked bad from the trailers, you weren’t too far from the truth to be honest. The movie has little in terms of unique comedy/plots and is merely a holiday pass over for those not looking to watch half of the other things releasing this week. Katt Williams and an emotional ending cannot save this film in terms from mediocre jokes, predictable plots, and stale comedy via the trailers. While it gets points for cuteness, the movie is not really worth the trip to the theater and is best saved for a RedBox rental or if you have cable a television premier on TBS.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 4.0