NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 4:00 AM
The world needs great Will Ferrell comedies. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.
The good news is that thanks to some decent slapstick comedy and supporting performances, “Daddy’s Home” is better than Ferrell’s previous effort, “Get Hard.” But “Talladega Nights,” it ain’t.
And can we talk about Mark Wahlberg and comedy? Did any of the millions who saw the “Ted” movies leave the theater thinking Wahlberg was the essential ingredient in the man- bear bromance? He’s been a good looking himbo (“Boogie Nights”) and an authentic New Englander (“The Perfect Storm”), but comic leading man? Not his strong suit.
Ferrell plays a devoted step-dad who is making headway with the difficult process of winning the love of his two step-daughters. Then their biological dad, the manly motorcycle riding bad boy played by Wahlberg, shows up.
There is conflict and then resolution, none of it very surprising.
There are good moments: Hannibal Buress is great as a handyman who becomes part of the family. And Ferrell’s slapstick mishaps with various forms of transportation always draw chuckles. And Thomas Haden Church, as Ferrell’s boss at a smooth jazz station, strikes a pleasingly off-kilter note that adds to the comedy.
But why would a movie director put Mark Wahlberg on a dance floor and barely show any of his moves? Why, Sean Anders, why? Let Wahlberg dance! Yes, he would have shown up the other characters, but at that point in the movie, take a chance, let Mark dance!
Maybe, just maybe, if Ferrell’s partner in comedy here had been the transcendent Sacha Baron Cohen, this comedy would have found an edge to put it into another league. But as it is, Ferrell is edging dangerously close to the worst thing you can say about movie mush: it’s Adam Sandler territory.