It’s Step-Dad vs. Dad – and Will Ferrell vs. Mark Wahlberg – in this rollicking holiday season family comedy about a mild-mannered radio executive who must take on the ultimate “dad-versary” when his wife’s motorcycle-riding, freewheeling, secret operative ex breezes back into town. It’s just one proud papa meeting another – what could possibly go wrong? But what is supposed to be a first get-to-know-you meeting turns into all-out warfare as the two polar opposites attempt to out-dad each other, with hilarious and disastrous results. The stakes keep rising – from puppies to ponies to Kobe – but can they both survive the rivalry? Step-dad Brad just wants to be there for his new family, but he has no idea just how much it’s going to take to win their hearts when “Daddy’s Home.”
My son, Paul, and I previewed the movie a couple of weeks ago. For the sake of full disclosure, we are both huge Will Ferrell fans and find every role he plays to be fantastically entertaining and funny. This movie lived up to our opinion of Mr. Ferrell!
We interviewed the writers in the cast after previewing this hilarious movie! The first question on everyone’s mind was who came up with the story line, and how? The answer was very simple, and based on the real life situation of writer Brian Burns. Brian married a woman who had two children, and he moved in and became their step dad. There was also their biological dad whom they all had to deal with, and the awkward moments that ensued in real life became the basis for this film!
Will Ferrell as the step dad versus Mark Wahlberg as the biological dad made for a great buddy movie! Except that these buddies were in direct competition for their shared kids attention and affection. The casting was terrific, these two actors played great opposite each other.
And interviewing Will Ferrell is not easy. The guy makes jokes at every opportunity, it was hard for this reviewer to write notes, as I was laughing so hard! When we asked him how it was decided who would take which role in the dad versus dad set-up, Will said, “We– we arm wrestled. And– I beat Mark, like, nine outta ten times. And even though Mark looks so physically fit, he’s super weak. And I think you have Epstein-Barr, right? You’re super tired, too. Yeah. So he would– I’d literally– he’d fall asleep while I arm wrestle him. And– and I thought, “Oh, that’s perfect for Brad.” Sitting in an interview with Will Ferrell is entertainment itself. In truth, everyone agreed that as soon as Mark Wahlberg was cast, they knew he would be the perfect Dusty to play opposite Will’s Brad.
Will Ferrell’s character, Brad, is the sweetest guy, he is the opposite of the evil step dad. In fact, he has a guide book that he uses to try to be the best step dad possible. Which he is successful at, for the most part, until his adversary, I mean his wife’s ex husband, Dusty comes along and pushes every one of Brad’s buttons.
And this comes directly from the production notes, it is about the scene which you may have seen in the trailers, where the family is a Laker’s game, and includes basketball great, Kobe Bryant:
“Kobe couldn’t have been nicer and did a whole scene with us where there wasn’t even any written dialogue and the whole thing was amazing,” recalls Ferrell. “We shot in the middle of a real game and we had a six-minute window to shoot that key half-time shot scene. It was so exciting to play it out live in front of a crowd who had no idea what was coming. We prompted them with ‘please stay in your seats as they shoot a scene for the upcoming Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg movie and watch Will Ferrell attempt a half-court shot.’ That’s all we told them… it’s rare that you get to do that stuff in real-time and it gives that scene a vitality that’s hard to recreate.”
And one of the most poignant parts of the movie is also based on a real life situation from the writers, how do you decide who takes the daughter to the father-daughter dance? Both Will and Mark talked about how important it was to them in real life although Mark Wahlberg did explain that now that his oldest daughter was 12, she was more interested with just hanging out with her friends. The scenes in the movie at the dance are some of my favorites, you will have to go to see why!
The cast also included Linda Cardellini, who while she has an extensive acting resume, will always be Velma to us, we used to watch those Scooby Doo movies over and over again!. Hannibal Buresss is the handy man who become a running joke in the movie as he is the uninvited house guest who never leaves. He was looking for more work as he made it clear in the interviews he was available for the sequel, should that be in the works!
Lastly, I asked about the competition in their own homes. Will Ferrell admitted to being loved by his kids, but that they loved mommy just a little bit more. Mark Wahlberg did not disagree with that statement but brought it all home when he said: “But what daddy now has Buddy the elf on FaceTime. And mommy don’t got that.”
I highly recommend this movie for the whole family. My son and I laughed throughout, and the laughs do not stop until the very end!
Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures present a Gary Sanchez production of “Daddy’s Home,” starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini. The film is directed by Sean Anders from a story by Brian Burns and a screenplay by Brian Burns and Sean Anders & John Morris. “Daddy’s Home” co-stars Hannibal Buress, Thomas Haden Church, Bobby Cannavale, Paul Scheer, Bill Burr along with Scarlett Estevez and Owen Wilder Vacarro as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s shared kids.
Disclosure: We received tickets to see this movie to facilitate the review. All opinions are always 100% honest and our own.
And the cast was very generous with their time, it was great to meet them!