Jesse Valencia

Film Review: Daddy’s Home

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell mine comedy gold in Daddy’s Home, film review by Jesse Valencia.


Between the Ted and Transformers movies, Wahlberg probably doesn’t need Daddy’s Home like Ferrell does. With the exception of maybe Anchorman 2, Ferrell hasn’t made this solid of a movie since his last team-up with Wahlberg, The Other Guys. Daddy’s Home might be the film where he gets his mojo back.

Ferrell is convincing as the soft-hearted, mild-mannered, totally awkward stepdad Brad. Wahlberg is equally so as the attractive bad boy Dusty. The Ferrell-Wahlberg combo works as good here as it did in The Other Guys. Put these two in the same room and there’s comedy gold to be found, and director Sean Anders, the mind behind Horrible Bosses 2, We’re the Millers, and Hot Tub Time Machine, knows exactly how to mine it.

Sure, the movie plays out according to formula, but the natural charisma between Wahlberg and Ferrell keeps us engaged. The simple premise is forgivable. Brad, who never had kids of his own due to a dentist visit blunder that ended up with his nuts getting blasted with radiation, longs to establish a wholesome fatherly connection with his wife Sara’s (Linda Cardellini) kids, Megan and Dylan. When Sara’s ex Dusty steps back into their kids’ lives, a patriarchal rivalry between Brad and Dusty unfolds which ends with both men learning from the other and everything wrapping up in a nice bow, with a fun cameo by John Cena at the end. You know, the guy who looks “like Mark Wahlberg ate Mark Wahlberg” (Trainwreck).

After the cheerleader getting it in the face with a basketball, my second favorite slapstick moment is when after a week of taking the lead enlightening Megan and Dylan to the simple wonders of the world, Brad is unexpectedly one-upped by Dusty when he comes home to find a huge treehouse and a half-pipe in his backyard. Dusty nails a series of tricks on his board, prompting Brad to dust off his old skateboard from the back of his closet. In a show of bravado, Brad launches off the back of his house onto the half-pipe. Everyone expects him to eat shit, but he actually lands it, but before he can enjoy his petty victory over Dusty, his momentum shoots him up into a power line. Later, Brad’s sperm count rises and Sara becomes pregnant. While the sudden need for testosterone in lieu of Dusty’s arrival is a plausible explanation, I would argue the power line zapping Brad’s radiated balls is what really cured him of his infertility.

Sure, the movie is somewhat predictable, but it’s feel-good movie, and we need more of that in this increasingly dismal world. It isn’t trying to surprise you. It’s funny without trying to be, so go have a laugh and get over yourselves, thou immovable naysayers.

I’m ready for Wahlberg-Ferrell round 3!



Daddy’s Home is in movie theaters now.


Jesse Valencia

Jesse Valencia is an actor, musician, writer, and filmmaker from Northern Arizona whose writing has appeared in Phoenix New Times, Flagstaff Live!, and The Big Smoke. He first appeared onscreen opposite Tom Sizemore in the indie crime drama Durant’s Never Closes, and is currently studying screenwriting at the David Lynch Graduate School for Cinematic Arts at the Maharishi University of Management. He plays music with the band, Gorky, who've put out the records The Gork…And How To Get It!, More Electric Music, and Mathemagician. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature from Northern Arizona University, is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and is currently at work on his first feature film.

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