Tuesday 29 May 2018

Father Figures ★★★★★

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. This is a bad one, ladies and gentlemen. Comedy is really struggling these days. For every 10 comedies forced upon us, only 1 is every any good. Father Figures, Owen Wilson’s latest, is just an abysmal disaster from start to finish. But the problems began way before the film was even released. Where do I begin…

In 2011, Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to a comedy script by Justin Malen entitled ‘Bastards’. Paramount dropped out shortly thereafter and Warner Brothers stepped in. By the end of October 2015, the film had been cast. On December 5th, 2015, the film finished shooting. It was due to be released late 2016. The film was screened to test audiences and was savagely torn apart. And so, the release date was pushed back so reshoots could take place. These reshoots ran over, and the film’s release was pushed back again. It was finally released on December 22nd, 2017…to universal critical destruction. The film also had to be renamed ‘Father Figures’ due to the original title ‘Bastards’ causing offence…despite trailers being circulated carrying the latter name.

The moral of the story is…be like Paramount. Drop out of projects like this. What a waste of time and money. The budget of this film was $25 million. 25. MILLION. I know you’re simply desperate to learn more about this film. I can almost hear you crying “tell us what it’s about” from here. Well, ask and you shall receive. 

The film follows Kyle (Owen Wilson) and Peter (Ed Helms), brothers on a mission to discover the identity of their father. As they travel the US, they find multiple ‘suspects’ in the mystery of who it could be, played by such legends as Christopher Walken, J.K. Simmons and Ving Rhames. Hilarity ensues as these men recount stories of Kyle and Peter’s mother’s sexual prowess, and people fall over, and…oh, I can’t even begin to sound remotely enthusiastic about this film. Maybe 10 years ago, it would’ve been great. Back when Owen Wilson was bankable and shit comedies weren’t so shit. Nowadays, people expect a little bit more.

The film often tries to become a study of brotherly love and family, but fails at every attempt – and then immediately ruins what little chance the sentiment had by following it with a scene involving children urinating on Owen Wilson or something even less mature than that. Not one of the jokes lands, nor does any of the heart. This is just a vacuous and uncomfortable watch that would’ve been torturous at 80 minutes, let alone 2 bloody hours. Overlong, unfunny and painfully forced, this is a disaster for all involved.

I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I’m going to go and have a shower and scrub this film off me. I don’t ever want to think about it again. Shame on you, cast. I expect this sort of behaviour from Owen Wilson but not you, J.K. Simmons. And certainly not you, Christopher Walken. I’m not angry. I’m disappointed. Father Figures is a disgrace to comedy, a disgrace to cinema, and a disgrace to humanity.

Sam Love

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