By: Reel 127 (Six Pack) –
I feel so lost. I am so goddamn tired and done. This movie has drained any strength left in me and I don’t know if I can make it through Christmas anymore. I thought Ferdinand was a pretty terrible movie, but then there is Father Figures.
Father Figures is about two fraternal twins, Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson), who learn their father isn’t dead like they thought. The two then set out on a trip to find their real father. Along the way trying to reconcile their differences.
I say fraternal because they look nothing alike,
despite everyone saying they’re twins.
The premise is fun enough. You have a road trip and dysfunctional family comedy set up with it. Sure, those tropes are used plenty, but many funny things can result if done properly. J.K. Simmons’s segment was the best part. He had some pretty good jokes and I loved seeing June Squibb as his mother. This section of the review is so short because there is not really much good that can be said about Father Figures.
At least I can pretend I was watching Nebraska.
That was a true dysfunctional family comedy.
The movie begins with Peter giving a man a prostate exam. And of course they have to go with the most cliché and overused joke they could, “Buy a guy dinner first.” With Peter even becoming self-aware and saying he hasn’t heard that one a million times. This immediately sets the tone for the recycled jokes this movie uses. All of which lost any humor they had years ago. On top of that, the entire cast is interchangeable. No part or actor stood out. You could have recast this entire movie and lost absolutely nothing. It just adds to how unremarkable the whole thing is.
Above: The actual iMDb profile pic of the director.
Ed Helms and Owen Wilson offer absolutely nothing new to this movie. Ed Helms is the tightly wound professional who secretly just wants to cut loose, and Owen Wilson is the relaxed guy who always gets off easy and doesn’t seem to have consequences. I not only described their parts in Father Figures, but easily at least five other movies they’ve been in. I want to like these guys, they both seem very nice. I know Owen Wilson is at least capable of a good performance- Midnight in Paris is one of my absolute favorite movies. I just can’t tell if it’s them failing to try, or directors failing to give them anything to work with.
Is this Father Figures,
or a lost Hangover sequel?
It could be either, and that’s bad.
The pacing ruined the entire end of this movie. The story beat that cues the audience that the 3rd act is starting comes too early. It comes when Peter and Kyle have a frank discussion and reconcile their differences after Kyle is nearly killed when a train hits their car. There is nothing wrong with the beat itself, but too much time passes afterwards. It makes the audience think things are winding down as things are becoming resolved. Yet the movie gets stretched for like another fifteen minutes. And all we gain from that is an incest scare, an unnecessary epilogue, and two minutes of Christopher Walken.
I love me some Walken,
but I would have loved him more
if he wasn’t in this.
This entire movie’s plot is held together by one implausibility after another. I’m not even talking the usual suspension of disbelief for movies. This is just people being stupid, beyond belief lucky, and lying:
- Peter and Kyle’s mom continues to lie by saying Terry Bradshaw is their father, knowing he isn’t.
- Peter says that Terry Bradshaw is his hero, but is dumb enough to accept this answer and not call out his mother on how convenient it is that his hero is his father.
- When it seems like they are reaching a dead end, a pair of cops Kyle and Peter meet after their car is hit by a train know how to find “Sparkly P”, their next potential father.
By the end we discover that their mother isn’t even their birth mother. It ends up devaluing the whole journey, because instead of focusing more on the bonding of the brothers, they spend so much time caring who the father is.
I love to laugh. And a wise man (Ralph Sepe) once said that all a comedy needs to do is be funny. And I completely agree. On a technical level nothing is done great, but nothing is done poorly. Hell, even some of the montages were well edited. But when the joke highlights for your comedy are peeing on an unruly child, overly large cat balls, and possible incest, you have failed. I would rather watch Office Christmas Party five times over than watch Father Figures once. At least that one was Christmas-themed and made me laugh.
Amazingly, both are written by the same person.
“I don’t know whether to laugh or vomit.”
Frankly I wish I could forget I ever saw this movie. I’m getting a headache just from writing this review. It seems almost like they had bigger plans for this as a raunchy R-rated comedy, originally planning to release it in late January under the title “Bastards.” But I guess the studio saw they had a flop on their hands. So they changed it to a more appropriate title and snuck it in for a Christmas weekend release so they could blame it on people seeing other things instead. So for the love of God skip this movie. I cannot stress this enough.
I wish I could give this a “12-Pack” rating.
Father Figures (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time a potential father is visited.
Take a Drink: every time someone lies (this happens way too much).
Take a Drink: any time Ed Helms starts shouting.
Take a Shot: when a joke takes an uncomfortable turn.
Finish Your Drink: when you wish you had seen literally anything else showing right now.