“Father Figures” stars Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close, J. K. Simmons, Terry Bradshaw, Christopher Walken, and Ving Rhames. Released on December 22, 2017, the film has two brothers going on a road trip to find their real father.
The film features the directorial debut of Lawrence Sher, who serves as a cinematographer for films such as Garden State, The Hangover, and The Dictator. Chances are that you didn’t know this was coming out or you just didn’t care about it when you saw the trailer for it for the first time. Either way, it’s here, and I’m talking about it. The film was supposed to be released in 2016 with the original title “Bastards” before moving it to a 2017 release a couple of times. They also changed the movie title because obviously Hollywood couldn’t sell the movie with a curse word in the title. I mean, imagine the type of reception this film will get if they stuck with the original title. Prepare to create the “Angry Parent E-mail” folder. Anyway, this is the latest project that is competing at the box office this Christmas weekend, and since I wasn’t able to get to Pitch Perfect 3 until Saturday, my mother and I decided to check this one out instead. Sorry, A Cappella fans. So, what’s my verdict on this latest R-rated comedy? Well, let’s just say that it wasn’t what I was expected, but it’s tolerable for what it’s trying to do.
Owen Wilson and Ed Helms lead the film’s recognizable cast as Kyle and Peter Reynolds, respectively. Kyle and Peter are twin brothers who found out that their father is still alive somewhere. Unfortunately, their mother, played by Glenn Close, has no clue who their real father is since she slept with a lot of guys in her young age. So the brothers decided to go on a cross-country road trip to search for him. First off, I thought the cast did a decent job with their performances. There were times where the chemistry between Wilson and Helms felt a bit rough around the edges, but their efforts in making the film entertaining was meaningful. The marketing describes the film as a typical R-rated comedy filled with some adult language and sexual references. It does offer some laughs, but it also provided a few dramatic moments in the process, especially during the third act. Lawrence Sher was attempting to mix those two together throughout the whole movie, but it just didn’t click for me. I did find a few scenes that were funny, and the third act took me by surprise, but everything else was a bit disappointing. Not as disappointing as Just Getting Started, but still disappointing. A lot of the humorous moments that are in the film were either forced or overstayed its welcome. The pacing didn’t help much either, with some scenes feeling a bit uneven compared to the other R-rated comedies. I think everyone who is looking for a raunchy laugh-fest might feel the same way, but for what Sher is trying to do story-wise, it’s a passable effort.
Overall, “Father Figures” offers a few enjoyable moments due to its cast, but the spark between comedy and drama is just as sour as its humor. I wouldn’t mind watching this again on television because I appreciate the effort of what the director is attempting to do, even though the final result is a mixed bag. If you like some of the actors that are in the film, I would say that it’s worth a watch at a matinee price. Otherwise, it's a rental.