- Product Rating -

Father Figures

| December 28, 2017

I don’t really know what it is about the holiday season that facilitates an influx of stupid comedies, but c’est la vie. The existence of Father Figures seemed like a foregone conclusion, and it’s something that, after sitting through it, also is as devoid of purpose or character as one would anticipate. A fair amount of comedies fail and simply result in cringeworthy moments, but this one manages to elicit so little over its almost two-hour runtime, fueled on the fumes of jokes that maybe, possibly, almost could have passed in the early 2000s. In what’s almost 2018, the blandness that it bleeds makes it staggeringly boring and entirely forgettable.

Pete and Kyle (Ed Helms and Owen Wilson) are fraternal twin brothers, the former working as a proctologist whose son hates him and the latter who does… nothing with this life? He has a hot girlfriend, though, and that’s all that matters, I guess. At their mother Helen’s (Glenn Close) wedding, they learn that despite what they’ve been told for their entire lives, their father is alive and somewhere out there, leading them on a wild goose chase to find their biological dad. Among those are retired football player Terry Bradshaw, reclusive criminal Ronald (J. K. Simmons), veterinarian Walter (Christopher Walken), and more that add up to make for an ostensibly wacky motley crew of supporting characters. It’s a movie that lives and dies on its revolving door of actors that seem to have had a day or two off to shoot their scenes, but really, the movie doesn’t even die since it was never alive to begin with.

A string of scenes tenuously tied together by way of the schticks that Helms and Wilson have had for virtually their entire respective careers doesn’t lead for anything to behold. The script from Justin Malen (Office Christmas Party) is really just a series of recycled jokes that are blank at their best and annoying at their worst. But among all of that is a laziness that is almost offensive in how condescending it comes off as, most of the jokes based on the frat boy rhetoric of the film itself. There’s a chauvinism to it all (and an occasional racism) that acts as the foundation for characters, their relationships, and what could possibly be referred to as discernible traits. The direction from Lawrence Sher, who makes his directorial debut here after working as a cinematographer for similarly budged comedies, is limp and poorly paced. It also has no visual style, despite what Sher’s previous credits may lead one to believe.

Father Figures is one of those movies that is so utterly pointless that it gives nothing to its audience: no laughs; energy; or pathos; and it’s all executed in such a way that those subjected to it won’t even have anything to speak of afterwards. It’s a sorely overlong nothing of a film wherein most bits go on for twice an acceptable length or are extraneous all together until the ending falls into a pit of unearned and completely separated sentimentality. It’s all been farted into existence, sometimes made barely watchable by the delivery of some performers, but when all is said and done, Owen Wilson doesn’t even say “woooow” once.

About the Author:

Senior year film student at Columbia College Chicago, Hollywood Film Festival pre-screener, and Best Social Media Presence for North Farmington High School's 2014 senior mock elections. Firmly believes that ".gif" is pronounced "jiff".
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