Critics Consensus

Daddy's Home, But Laughs Aren't

Plus, Joy and Concussion are uneven but often strong, and The Big Short, The Revenant, and Making a Murderer are all Certified Fresh.

by and | December 22, 2015 | Comments

Merry Christmas! This week at the movies, we’ve got feuding father figures (Daddy’s Home, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg), an unlikely inventor (Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro), an embattled doctor (Concussion, starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin), financial insurgents (The Big Short, starring Steve Carell and Christian Bale), and an extreme FBI agent (Point Break, starring Luke Bracey and Edgar Ramirez). What do the critics have to say?

Daddy's Home (2015) 31%

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg made for a hilarious odd-couple pairing in The Other Guys, and the notion of these two in adversarial roles offers a certain comic appeal. Unfortunately, critics say Daddy’s Home is a so-so family comedy with limited characters and an overreliance on slapstick gags. Ferrell stars as a straight-laced radio executive whose struggle to connect with his wife’s children is thrown painfully out of whack when the kids’ cooler bio-dad (Wahlberg) makes a surprise reappearance, sparking a battle for paternal supremacy in which each man makes progressively more elaborate attempts to win the kids’ affection. The pundits say the talented leads earn a few decent laughs, but Daddy’s Home rarely strays from the predictable beats its premise guarantees.

Joy (2015) 60%

In theory, Joy should find director David O. Russell squarely in his wheelhouse. In bringing the life of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano to the big screen, he utilizes a pair of his most effective weapons — a fact-based, stranger-than-fiction story, and Jennifer Lawrence as a leading lady — so it would seem safe to assume this picture would hit nothing but cinematic paydirt. Alas, reviews point to more muddled results this time out, thanks to a scattershot focus and wildly meandering tone that often overwhelm typically strong work from Lawrence (not to mention a supporting cast that also includes Russell returnees Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro). While most critics stop short of labeling Joy a failure, filmgoers hoping for another Silver Linings Playbook or American Hustle may wish to temper their expectations.

Concussion (2015) 59%

Like many a fact-based film that’s a little too timely for its own good, Concussion was dogged by real-life drama long before the cameras rolled: Sony Pictures was supposedly pressured into making script changes by NFL execs concerned that writer-director Peter Landesman’s drama might portray the league in an unfavorable light. That was a fairly safe bet, given that the movie looks at the true story of the doctor (played by Will Smith) who discovered the degenerative brain disease suffered by a number of former football players — and to its credit, critics say Concussion is indeed unflinching in its willingness to lay blame at the feet of a greed-driven culture of dangerous bravado and medical negligence. Unfortunately, many reviews also argue that the film’s focus is too diffuse — and its message is often delivered too clumsily — to really register the type of impact the subject matter deserves.

The Big Short (2015) 88%

If Adam McKay really wanted to film an adaptation of a bestselling book, he certainly could have picked an easier row to hoe than Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, which takes a critical look at the gross financial chicanery that sparked the economic meltdown of 2008. But as we learned with previous Lewis-inspired efforts Friday Night Lights and Moneyball, just because a nonfiction book might not seem like the most naturally cinematic source material, that doesn’t mean it can’t be turned into a hugely entertaining movie — and that’s exactly what critics say McKay’s given us here, turning real-life crooks spinning derivatives into a Wall Street dramedy with a populist rage to match its satirical bite.

Point Break (2015) 11%

Seven films into a multi-billion dollar franchise, it’s easy to forget that the original Fast and the Furious was basically a loose remake of Point Break. Unfortunately, this  official remake/reboot of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 cult favorite was barely screened for critics, which is rarely a good sign. Luke Bracey  stars as Johnny Utah, a former extreme athlete-turned-FBI agent tasked with tracking down a criminal gang that redistributes what it steals. However, Utah finds his loyalty tested when he befriends Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez), the leader of the group. Guess the Tomatometer!


 What’s Hot on TV

Making a Murderer: Season 1 (2015) 98%

Making a Murderer is a spellbinding slow burn that effectively utilizes the documentary format to tell a twisty mystery.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • Nathan Schultz

    20-30% for Point Break, I guess. About Joy I was expecting a great movie like Silver Linings Playbook, and although I enjoy the movie, the truth is that isn’t the best David O’ Russell movie, Jennifer Lawrence is great on her role, and the rest of the cast is cool too, but ‘Joy’ doesn’t have the spark that his previous movies had.
    I can’t wait to see The Big Short!

  • David A. Gonzalez

    Friday Night Lights was Buzz Bisinger, not Michael Lewis. Lewis wrote The Blind SIde. And it’s funny that the director of The Other Guys is going up against his stars. He even helped produce his competition.

  • Jon Taffer’s Butt Funnel

    I usually like David O Russel but man American Hustle was boring…

  • Sam

    Point Break was horrible

Tag Cloud

witnail discovery sports Certified Fresh VOD Schedule Warner Bros. jamie lee curtis Pixar rotten movies we love Valentine's Day ABC Family crossover game show Pop Starz WGN fast and furious 21st Century Fox Awards Tour Premiere Dates nature YouTube Premium Trailer Best and Worst halloween E3 Character Guide Acorn TV HBO TV ABC Reality Competition OWN chucky Masterpiece Epix Sundance Now Mudbound DC streaming service BET PaleyFest werewolf directors The Walking Dead best LGBTQ BAFTA Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Chernobyl Pet Sematary Opinion Pride Month worst cancelled television MTV Shudder indiana jones Women's History Month nfl Television Critics Association Mary Poppins Returns dragons Cannes Adult Swim cooking Oscars comics History festival sequels Comedy Mindy Kaling CNN Tubi book TNT children's TV strong female leads a nightmare on elm street Hear Us Out cops independent Pop TV Heroines romantic comedy historical drama Year in Review TruTV FXX SundanceTV name the review BBC One Amazon Prime adaptation GIFs spain Winter TV Musical SDCC movies Vudu Creative Arts Emmys cancelled TV series elevated horror Rom-Com scary movies Spring TV supernatural CBS TBS technology Thanksgiving miniseries 2018 Classic Film harry potter Writers Guild of America reviews dark Box Office breaking bad ID australia ratings Peacock Ghostbusters satire Polls and Games 71st Emmy Awards Music scorecard Esquire Awards Captain marvel Disney Channel TLC boxing New York Comic Con IFC Films TV Land Shondaland Fall TV sequel Star Trek disaster Emmys YouTube Red Action romance television Rocky series Tarantino spy thriller Elton John Food Network kids Mary Tyler Moore Sony Pictures Comic Book Spike stoner Nominations zombie universal monsters Black Mirror anime sag awards Arrowverse psychological thriller Mary poppins 4/20 The Witch Country FX justice league zombies Marathons MSNBC quibi rt archives Freeform Disney Plus emmy awards Fox Searchlight Hallmark Christmas movies cars free movies italian 20th Century Fox Hallmark 24 frames Anna Paquin casting Holiday Election Syfy psycho FX on Hulu TCA 2017 Film Festival Film twilight LGBT X-Men Holidays spanish language Spectrum Originals El Rey DC Comics Crunchyroll composers Set visit mutant Black History Month Television Academy versus Rocketman comiccon American Society of Cinematographers The Arrangement Rock hispanic Netflix A&E Britbox Martial Arts science fiction Quiz Apple TV+ Calendar critics Marvel deadpool nbcuniversal hollywood Paramount Network comedies Amazon Studios aliens Extras Ovation Western The Academy hist dc Trivia Sundance CW Seed reboot thriller mission: impossible asian-american batman Cartoon Network cinemax SXSW USA Network cancelled VICE black halloween tv Turner Classic Movies child's play rotten Nickelodeon japanese Disney+ Disney Plus Sneak Peek space Star Wars Photos Discovery Channel natural history 2020 Cosplay toronto french Winners docudrama Crackle remakes Tumblr facebook finale TCM travel revenge diversity dceu RT History Amazon talk show what to watch Amazon Prime Video TCA Winter 2020 E! canceled TV shows festivals BBC adventure superhero Super Bowl Grammys DirecTV parents First Look Horror DGA Apple TV Plus Nat Geo cartoon franchise documentary 2015 comic documentaries true crime venice mockumentary Countdown movie unscripted 2019 MCU Comedy Central Showtime medical drama based on movie The CW foreign toy story police drama biography south america laika blockbuster Video Games Disney streaming service robots fresh streaming Logo Summer Marvel Television spinoff anthology Lionsgate stop motion cats screenings worst movies Columbia Pictures Endgame OneApp Academy Awards See It Skip It Fantasy 007 Dark Horse Comics IFC Emmy Nominations TIFF Christmas Walt Disney Pictures dramedy tv talk Interview Binge Guide The Purge period drama A24 Comics on TV concert sitcom BBC America criterion Ellie Kemper Bravo Reality archives Teen ESPN teaser Travel Channel YouTube Lifetime theme song ITV dogs war TCA Awards HBO Go indie Red Carpet NBC comic books screen actors guild Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt WarnerMedia Watching Series TV renewals Musicals AMC political drama Mystery classics all-time Marvel Studios die hard video renewed TV shows Paramount Kids & Family CMT 45 Stephen King Infographic spider-man blaxploitation Brie Larson Funimation doctor who 72 Emmy Awards Superheroe GoT CBS All Access Alien boxoffice DC Universe crime thriller Baby Yoda Sci-Fi President football National Geographic HBO Max Pirates spanish Biopics Netflix Christmas movies Animation 2016 Lucasfilm PBS Turner Apple First Reviews RT21 politics USA news zero dark thirty award winner vampires Superheroes YA 99% BET Awards slashers Hulu Fox News obituary Lifetime Christmas movies cancelled TV shows cults canceled NYCC APB Avengers crime Trophy Talk latino crime drama PlayStation ghosts animated TCA San Diego Comic-Con Toys christmas movies Sundance TV Drama FOX Tomatazos singing competition joker Family richard e. Grant james bond Song of Ice and Fire transformers video on demand serial killer films 2017 binge Disney Podcast social media stand-up comedy golden globes green book Universal game of thrones GLAAD VH1