“Daddy’s Home” is a comedy that features Will Ferrell as a loving step dad who has been trying to get his step kids to accept him into their lives. After months of trying, it appears he is on the verge of winning the kids over when their cool mysterious drifter father Mark Wahlberg suddenly turns up and attempts to keep the kids from accepting Ferrell and win back their mother Linda Cardellini. Farrell and Wahlberg compete for the children’s affection constantly trying to outdo each other and sabotage each other’s efforts.
While the film does have some very funny moments, it has a bit of a mean spirit to it as both father figures come off as manipulative and more interested in outdoing each other than actually being fathers. The warm fuzzy satisfying ending that you would expect isn’t quite there leaving you with the sense that there are still a lot of unresolved issues including jealousy and characters are simply settling rather than truly happy.
The biggest problem with “Daddy’s Home” is its use of product placement. Product placement has been steadily growing in Hollywood as it allows studios to offset their production costs by featuring products from advertisers in their films. If done right product placement feels natural, is hardly noticeable, and doesn’t detract from the film. Reese’s Pieces received a huge sales boost after being featured in 1982’s “E.T.” and it didn’t feel like the product was forced into the movie. “Daddy’s Home” is filled with product placements that stick out blatantly and painfully.
Perhaps the product placement wouldn’t have been as obvious if ten seconds into the movie there wasn’t one of the most horrendous product placements of all time. In the opening of the film Will Ferrell’s character Brad Whitaker states “I love my family… and I love my Ford Flex,” which he then goes on to explain the features of. There are at least 18 products featured in the movie the majority of which feel very forced. While Will Farrell’s character is engaged in a conversation with another character, a minor character unnecessary to the scene interrupts the conversation simply to ask “Do you have any Miracle Whip?” When Mark Wahlberg and his friend Griff (Hannibal Buress) are kicked out of the house in what should be an emotional scene, Wahlberg looks at the bowl in his friend’s hand and enthusiastically asks, “Is that Cinnamon Toast Crunch?” There is a running plot thread in which Farrell tries to prove the cinnamon rolls Wahlberg made were actually from Cinnabon. Eventually he calls the Cinnabon corporate office where he is told that no one could possibly have made cinnamon rolls that tasted like Cinnabon’s because Cinnabon uses special ovens to ensure quality. These blatant ads take away from the emotion of the film and cheapen it as a whole.
“Daddy’s Home” isn’t a terrible movie but it really isn’t worth paying $10 or more per person to see it in theaters. Wait for this one to come to Netflix or Red Box and watch it with a large bottle of alcohol nearby. Every time one of the painful product placements come on take a drink. With at least 18 product placements (probably more) you might not make it through the entire movie but you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more and think it’s a lot funnier than it actually is.
in theaters 12/25/15
Director: Sean Anders
Story by: Brian Burns
Screenplay: Sean Anders, Brian Burns, John Morris
Producers: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, John Morris
Starring: Will Ferrell,Mark Wahlberg,Linda Cardellini
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