Comedy

Father Figures

Year: 2018
Directed by: Lawrence Sher
Starring: Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, J.K. Simmons, Katt Williams

Written by Tom Sheffield

I’ll be honest, with the disappointing quality of comedies over recent years (bar a handful of exceptions) I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy ‘Father Figures’ as much as I did. Owen Wilson and Ed Helms both have a history of hit and miss films, a niggling thought that only added to my scepticism of this film, but with the aid of a strong script and fantastic direction, this film manages to deliver some hearty laugh out loud moments, as well as offering up some genuinely heart-warming moments.

Peter (Helms) and Kyle (Wilson) are twin brothers who lead totally different lives. Peter is a Proctologist and divorced father of one who fears his child will hate him forever because he himself never had a father figure in his life. Kyle on the other hand is as laid back as they come and is currently earning the big bucks as the model for a BBQ sauce company.  The pair learn the their mother has been keeping a secret from them their whole lives… The man they grew up thinking was their father, who they were told died when they were really young, actually wasn’t their father. This revelation leads the brothers on a journey of self-discovery as they try to hunt down their real biological father by finding their mother’s ex-lovers.

Helms and Wilson are brilliant as the twin brothers, who pull off both the comedic and more heart-warming moments superbly. Sadly, the film fails to provide a classic Wilson ‘wow’ moment, and neither of the pair perform outside of their usual comfort zone as they portray characters who could easily be mistaken for one of older performances. The support cast, however brief their appearances may be, are all wonderful and offer something a little different to the story. A special shout-out has to go to Katt Williams, who absolutely steals the scenes he’s in and had me in absolute stitches. Williams’ scenes are also my favourite of the film, and it’s very likely I’m not the only one who will think so.

This is Lawrence Sher’s directorial debut. If the name rings a bell, it’s for a very good reason! Sher has worked on a number of films as the director of photography, including ‘Paul’, ‘The Hangover’ trilogy, ‘War Dogs’, and the upcoming ‘Godzilla’ sequel, ‘King of Monsters’. As far as debuts go, this is a pretty strong start for Sher and I look forward to seeing his future work both in an out of the director’s chair. As you can expect from a film with a director with a passion for cinematography, this film features some noticeably great camera work, lighting, and scenery. Sher enlisted the help of John Lindley (‘Legion’, ‘The Core’, ‘Bewitched’) to take the reigns as Director of Photography, with Sher no doubt having a great influence on his work.

The film takes a few unexpected (and hilarious) twists and turns, and with family-orientated comedies such as this you can always expect a scene or two that try to deliver an emotional gut-punch. For me, scenes like this tend to miss their mark or the ‘revelation’ is completely obvious and therefore doesn’t have much impact. However, the final scenes of this film absolutely nailed the delivery, timing, and came as a genuine surprise, which means it packs a pretty emotional wallop to the audience.

If you’re killing some time, this film will do the job and give you a few laughs along the way. The film doesn’t really offer up anything new but it does sport a great cast that play to their strengths, and a solid script. Sher has produced a comedy that manages to execute changes in tone throughout so fittingly that they don’t feel out of place or shoe-horned in. I may actually find myself re-visiting upon its home release.

Tom’s Rating: 5.5/10

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