Director : Sean Anders
Written by : Sean Anders and Brian Burns
Will Ferrell plays a responsible but repressed step-father of two young children. He's invested in their lives and wants nothing more than their love and affection in return. Despite all of his efforts it's a battle, but one that he thinks he might be winning when Megan (Scarlett Estevez) invites him to the Daddy and Daughter dance. Before he gets a chance to bask in his victory though, the kids birth Father, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) , arrives home and turns the life that he was building upside down.
But this is not a simple fight between good and evil. Like all blended families, it's much more complicated than that, but deadbeat Dad's don't make great fodder for comedies, so the focus is wisely on the pissing contest between the two men. While not intended to be Shakespeare, the movie is not as dumb as the trailer suggests. Yes, there are ridiculous motorcycle crashes and skateboard electrocutions, but the pratfalls are the punchline to a basic conflict of world views between the two men.
Sixteen years after Fightclub and men are no less confused over what the world wants from them. Will Ferrell is no stranger to this territory. In Old School his Frank is a Freudian case study. He shifts between what he wants to do (running nude to KFC) and what he thinks society wants him to do (shopping at Home Depot) with no balance between the two. Meanwhile Ron Burgundany lives in a pre-PC world and while the comedy comes from the modern view of 70's behaviour, you get the sense of his nostalgia for the simpler time. In Daddy's Home, he straight up plays the Freudian ego (doing what he thinks society wants from him) while Wahlburg is all id. When the son Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) has an issue with bullies, neither man's approach is appropriate so they have to work together to develop some common ground.
But all of that sits below the surface. The reality is that Walhburg and Ferrrell make an unlikely but very entertaining team. Neither of them are as dumb as they play and even though they hint at serious issues here, they don't sacrifice the laughs to make any attempt to provide solutions. The climax is corny but satisfying and the denouement is the icing on the cake that is sure to send you out with a smile.