Directed By: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
For Fans Of: The Other Guys, Ted, Get Hard
My Rating: 4 out of 10
Today class, we are going to be talking Science. More specifically a phenomenon in the film industry that cannot be denied. It is as consistent as gravity. I am talking about “Steve Martin Syndrome”.
"What on earth are you on about Gaz you sexy fool?", Well I'm sure most reading this will be old enough to remember former funny man Steve Martin actually used to be in films that made you laugh. Then one day, suddenly after much success, Steve’s funny bone was broken and in all honesty I think the real Steve Martin may have died and we were left with a shit Pink Panther movie. Others followed and contracted the disease, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers and Jim Carrey. All of whom hit peak and then struggled to emulate former glories with anything they have been in since. This is not even debatable in a court of law. It's simply fact. Oh, wait you're not convinced? Well let me bring forth the most recent piece of evidence. In this movie, we have Will Ferrell. Like many of the names mentioned above, Ferrell has been renowned by the world for some time as one of the finest comedians out there. His repertoire consists of Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy, Frank the Tank in Old School and who can forget the epic, more cowbell SNL sketch? Simply put, everything he was touching turned to funny gold. But it's all coming crashing down.
Like his peers before him, I fear this is the beginning of the end for yet another of films classic funnymen. Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a classic from Daddy’s home. I expected the predictable plot line. You have two opposite type step dads, vying for the children and the mother's attention, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how this one will end. But predictability in this type of film there is no issue, as long as you get enough laughs throughout to keep it fun. And that's where the biggest concern is. It just wasn't funny.
Most of the jokes were utterly lame, poorly written and as a consequence, poorly delivered. Further to not being funny, it was trying so hard to be funny that at parts it actually made me cringe. There is a scene with a motorcycle where the CGI is so bad that the only people laughing are the people who were paid to make that shit. Another scene helped out by the hapless CGI team, consists of a skateboard and a ramp where again the comedy falls just as flat. In this scene Will Ferrell is pronounced clinically dead, which is fitting really as nearly every joke made in this movie flatlined with him. I am not the biggest fan of CGI generally, but this was put in to get the big laughs and to say it had the opposite effect is an understatement. How some of these scenes made it through editing is beyond me. I remember watching 'The Other Guys', a film which also featured Ferrell and Wahlberg. I remember thinking that the chemistry between these two guys was awesome on screen. But something felt off here. Was it that Ferrell just wasn't at the races? Was the direction to both an issue? Was the script just so poor it made everyone look bad?
Whatever it was, it felt too awkward and the chemistry, which made 'The Other Guys' a hit, was not present. The only person who comes out of this with any credit really is Thomas Haden Church. The little screen time he had was the only part which gave me a slight chuckle. Sean Anders, the director, is no stranger to comedy as well. So I find it hard to believe how poorly played out this film was. He is responsible for Sex Drive, Hot Tub Time Machine and We Are The Millers. All of these films were way better than this one. A bad day at the office maybe, but this was cheap comedy done extremely badly.
Perhaps this was a director simply running out of ideas? I don't know. It felt desperate. For both Anders and even more so for comedian Ferrell who was trying his hardest to remain the funniest man in the world. That brings me back to my original point. many of the names I mentioned before were just naturally funny and were probably making their classic films with little help or direction. They were probably turning pretty poor scripts in to hilarious ones. But then something happened, they started trying. Trying to go one step further to be funny, trying just too hard for the laughs. Laughs which used to come naturally. And that's what this film felt like. It felt like everyone was trying far too hard.
So it is with great sadness, I am afraid to say, it looks like the test results have come back positive. Will Ferrell has contracted that most horrible of Hollywood diseases. And all we can do now is wait for the announcement that he is scheduled to take over Steve Martin as the next Inspector Clouseau. RIP Will and those that fell before him.