A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Daddy's Home could easily have been a family-friendly film if there had been fewer crass jokes and obscenities -- but as it is, while it features elementary-aged children, it's definitely not for them. There's quite a lot of swearing (including "s--t" and more), plus recurring jokes about sex, penis size, and virility. The movie trades in outdated stereotypes: that kind, nice guys aren't manly and that exciting guys must be macho, motorcycle-riding bad boys. There's some adult drinking and drunkenness, accidental violence and physical comedy, and generally cringe-inducing gags. Although there are ultimately positive messages about blended families and the toxic nature of jealousy, they don't outweigh this Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg vehicle's unnecessarily crass humor.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
DADDY'S HOME stars Will Ferrell as Brad, a devoted stepfather to his new wife, Sarah's (Linda Cardellini), two young kids, Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez). Brad volunteers at school, church, and scouts and generally loves being a stepdad, even though young Megan draws pictures of him either dead or covered in poop. But when the kids' dad, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), calls for the first time in months and discovers that Sarah has remarried, he hops on a flight to visit the new man in Dylan and Megan's life. From the moment Dusty arrives, with his cool motorcycle and perfect abs, he and Brad engage in a not-so-subtle competition for who should be king of the castle. At first Brad is cordial, but as the visit drags on, he grows insecure and thinks he just can't compete with Dusty's manliness.
Is it any good?
Another case of the best bits showing up in the trailer, this is a comedy that doesn't have much more to offer than predictable (and literal) comparisons of manhood. Since Ferrell and Wahlberg were considerably funnier foils and partners in The Other Guys, it's obvious why they'd team up for another buddy comedy. And given the set up, there was so much room for family shenanigans -- but instead the movie devolves into crass, unfunny jokes, like a recurring gag about Brad's shrunken and barren testicles. In most comedies, there's just a figurative, Freudian competition between men, but in this case, the two men actually drop their pants and submit to inspection by a reproductive endocrinologist (and, far worse, their former/current wife).
Despite Daddy's Home's many flaws, there are a few laugh-aloud scenes, particularly if you appreciate Ferrell's talent for physical comedy. There are also a couple of unexpectedly sweet moments when Brad demonstrates why it's better to show and not tell as a parent. Thomas Haden Church looks like he's having fun playing Brad's womanizing boss at a smooth jaz radio station, while Cardellini has little more to do than look pretty and warn Brad that Dusty is a master manipulator. A true family comedy this is not, and if you're looking for a better Ferrell/Wahlberg film, skip this and check out The Other Guys instead.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about crass comedies and why they appeal to so many viewers. Could Daddy's Home still have been funny with fewer raunchy jokes? Although there are kids at the heart of this story, is the movie appropriate for kids? Why or why not?
What does the movie have to say about blended families? Is it possible to find positive take-aways within over-the-top antics?
How do Brad and Dusty depict different kinds of men and fatherhood? Are they portrayed in a stereotypical way?
Discuss the way that sexuality and attractiveness are portrayed in the movie. Why is it important to the story that Dusty is so in shape and handsome? Can that kind of thing impact kids' body image?
What role does drinking play in the story? Is it glamorized? Are there consequences?
- In theaters: December 25, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: March 22, 2016
- Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Linda Cardellini
- Directors: Sean Anders, John Morris
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Holidays
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, crude and suggestive content, and for language
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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