Filmed in 2015 and not released in the United States until December 22, 2017 (the same day as Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Father Figures tells the story of two fraternal twin brothers, Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson), who set out to find their father after learning he’s alive. Despite being twins, the two brothers are very different. Peter, a recently divorced gastroenterologist, is deeply depressed, while the eternally cheerful Kyle always looks on the bright side. Raised by their single mother Helen (Glenn Close), they had grown up believing their father died before they were born.
As Peter and Kyle go from potential father to father, the biggest problem is that Father Figures never really figures out whether it wants to be a raunchy road movie, or a dialogue driven dramedy. Given the fact that director Lawrence Sher was the cinematographer on several Todd Phillips films including the The Hangover series, one would think he’d have a better feel for this type of film. While it’s possible to chock it up to this being his first time in the director’s chair, that still doesn’t explain screenwriter Justin Malen’s rather dull script. He proved he could write some genuinely funny lines in 2016’s Office Christmas Party, but here the jokes just fall flat.
Alongside Wilson, Helms, and Close, are ex-NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw (The Cannonball Run) as himself and one of the possible dads, Ving Rhames as one of his old teammates, as well as J.K. Simmons as Roland Hunt, a small-time crook whom the duo are convinced is their real father. The awesome Christopher Walken turns up in the final portion of the film, but he’s not around long enough for it to matter. At nearly two hours long, Father Figures is in serious need of streamlining. Around the half way mark, it feels like the film wrapping up. Than perhaps realizing the story needed a jolt, Malen introduces a romantic subplot that makes no sense at all and disengages viewers from the story.
Owen Wilson and Ed Helms are professionals and do the best they can with the material. However, there’s not much here. Most of its been done before in fare better films. There’s one twist at the end most viewers won’t see coming, so that’s a plus. But most people won’t find anything of interest in Father Figures.
Framed in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio this 1080p transfer looks very nice. There’s a nice sheen to all of the outdoor shots, and colors are vibrant throughout. Blacks are inky and contrast appropriate. Textures look stunning throughout. Faces appear natural. There are no significant digital anomalies to mention.
The DTS-HD Master 5.1 soundtrack is slightly front heavy, but it’s basically a typical comedy mix. It’s serves the film well, providing clean dialogue and clear environmental cues.
English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 21:09) 10 on total, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy.
- Gag Reel (HD, 4:26) Typical gag reel.
- Digital HD
Movie title: Father Figures (2017)
Director(s): Lawrence Sher
Actor(s): J.K. Simmons , Owen Wilson , Ed Helms , Katie Aselton , Glenn Close , Ving Rhames