In Brief: Not the smartest comedy in the comedy card deck but it’s sweet enough in spots to recommend.
Father Figures has Ed Helms and Owen Wilson as twin brothers on a quest to find their father. Their mother tells them their father is actually not dead and that — as a child of New York City’s wild disco 1970s — she has no idea who fathered them.
That sends them on a road trip to find him and it connects them to sports analyst and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, a guy done by J.K. Simmons and to a hitchhiker done by Katt Williams.
By the way, Williams’ hitchhiker steals the movie.
I shouldn’t complain but other than Adam Sandler, Helms and Wilson are probably my two least favorite comedy actors. Helms acting skills and style are limited. His characters are always too tightly wound. Helms’ toothy smile is never sincere and he never seems like he’s having fun in any role.
Other than the afore mentioned Sandler, Wilson is the most irritating actor on the planet. Like Helms, he’s always the same character. Wilson runs circles around Helms and the film’s other characters and like a chatty chihuahua yaps lines non-stop.
Like them or not, they work in this one. The original title was Bastards. Kind of crass and not a warm, friendly title for a holiday movie release. It got changed to Father Figures which can be defined as a road trip movie. Or you could call it a buddy flick. Another choice is the dysfunctional family definition.
Whatever you call it, first time director Lawrence Sher’s film is sometimes funny. Once in awhile he and writer Justin Malen (Office Christmas Party) hit a nice sentimental note. The performances — in spite of the casting of Helms and Wilson — are not bad either.
Best of all, the movie has a nice unexpected twist or two.
Director: Lawrence Sher
Stars: Ed Helms, Owen Wilson, Owen Wilson, Glenn Close, Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames, J.K. Simmons, June Squibb, Katt Williams, Katie Aselton, Harry Shearer, Jessica Gomes
Rated R for mature themes, language. In spite of the irritating TV comedy aspects to the movie, it is good for a couple of laughs and a nice twist or two.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
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