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Daddy's Home

Daddy’s Home

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Linda Cardellini, Thomas Hayden Church, Bobby Cannavale (Rated PG – 96 min).

While essentially bringing a heartfelt message concerning blended families, this formulaic comedy has an equal combination of slapstick and conservative moments transpiring into undemanding entertainment.

To begin with at least, a moderately reserved Will Ferrell plays Brad. Although he loves children, unfortunately due to a medical mishap, it’s impossible to have any of his own so it is lucky that new wife Sara already has two. Brad proudly works at a smooth jazz radio station, however his cool calm demeanour is tested when the mostly absent real dad to his step-kids returns to the family home for an extended visit.

Complete opposites in every way to Brad, motorcycle-riding, leather jacket wearing bad boy Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) creates tension and eventually a competitive ambition to gain affection of the kids. Effective slapstick routines ensue from these two seasoned actors who possess definite comic chemistry as already proven in 2010 hit, The Other Guys.

One of the highlights occurs during half time at a basketball game filmed in front of an actual unsuspecting stadium audience. Ferrell works the room with hilarious results. The riffing of the two leads is intergraded by the wonderful Linda Cardellini (Good Burger, Brokeback Mountain) playing it straight as Sara, the mum and wife holding things together amongst the growing mayhem. Simply adorable and no surprise the object of endearment.

Possibly eye-opening for some parents expecting wholesome family cheer, pushing the boundaries of the PG classification is tested throughout mostly during scenes with an enigmatic Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine) as celebrity fertility expert Dr. Francisco. Most likely going over the head of juniors, the dialogue, facial expressions and observational innuendo offers big laughs in these moments.

As expected in all feel-good comedy, everything falls into place during Daddy’s Home, complete with a dance off and a full circle cameo in the final stages. Perfect breezy holiday fun for all without a Jedi in sight.

**1/2 stars  

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.