Father Figures Review
Who’s ya daddy?
When fraternal twins Peter and Kyle set off on a road trip to discover the true identity of their absent father, they find themselves pin balled from one potential dad to the next - all without a single DNA test in sight.On the day of their mother's wedding the twins discover that their single-mother had not been telling them the whole truth when it came to who their father was. Ed Helms plays Peter - a sort of uptight, anger prone geeky type who’s divorced with a son who openly refers to him as an asshole. Owen Wilson plays Kyle in a very typically Wilson fashion; the chillaxed sort of surfer dude who’s at one with the universe living the life of Riley thanks to BBQ sauce. I can’t imagine there is ever good time to learn that your father isn’t who you thought he was and the day of your mother’s wedding certainly isn’t.Suffice to say this bombshell goes off with a bang, affecting the twins in different ways but proving especially devastating to Peter. You see, he had become a doctor, specialising in proctology, telling himself it was in honour of his father whom he had been duped into thinking passed away because of colon cancer. Frustrated and blaming his own short comings as a father on this news, Peter pushes his mother Helen (Glenn Close) to give him a name which sets in motion a road trip that will see Peter and Kyle travel across the country and encounter four potential fathers along the way.
Ever the optimist, Kyle sees a silver lining in their recent discovery; a chance for his brother to utilise his sexual freedom and get in some good old fashioned brotherly bonding. As the pair jump between potential fathers including a former NFL player (Terry Bradshaw) to a Wall Street type gone rogue (J. K. Simmons) our sibling couple realise that their mother was not quite the shrinking violet they perhaps thought she was. Putting it down to the disco era of free love and Studio 54, Helen makes out that she was once quite the sex kitten. An image that is on multiple occasions verbally conjured up from the various lovers she accrued along the way. A bizarre public toilet moment, an insightful hitchhiker and a close call with a train are just a couple of the various antics our twins encounter on operation 'who’s ya daddy'.
Despite a top notch cast Father Figures fails to deliver the goods
What sets out to be a laugh riot in a similar vein to the Hangover film franchise (in no doubt thanks to director Lawrence Sher’s time spent on the aforementioned films as well as writer Justin Malen’s work on Office Christmas Party) swiftly turns into a heart-to-heart between the twins as they learn to accept each other for who they are - but not without a few fisty cuffs along the way of course. The attempt at comedy for the most part is very desperate, leaning on incest jokes and playing the sex fiend mum line over and over. Katt Williams adds some much needed humour and breaks up the monotony of watching Helm and Wilson feign brotherly chemistry on screen. This is the only genuinely comedic moment of the whole film and is brilliantly timed, and played, to reinvigorate those who may have lost all interest up until this point.
There’s very little that is new or that hasn’t been done better before which makes watching Father Figures frustrating at times. However, once you do manage to settle into the mediocre flow it makes an emergency stop, does a U-turn and suddenly gets really heavy, disrupting any of the comedy it managed to muster up along the way. I can imagine that had Father Figures been released in the UK during the festive period like it was in the US might have given it a fighting chance along with other family orientated movies like Bad Moms and Daddy’s Home, but it doesn’t quite manage to get into the right gear. It’s not completely terrible but it’s not entirely all that good either.
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