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) 10%

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

NYCC Music talk show Dark Horse Comics IFC Christmas crossover YA Sony Pictures Musical blaxploitation CBS ABC Family zombies Paramount MSNBC ABC American Society of Cinematographers Trophy Talk Freeform Martial Arts Syfy social media 2017 Lucasfilm HBO CMT Nat Geo MTV TNT Election cooking ITV BET Reality Competition Mystery PBS Grammys 24 frames DC Comics Year in Review ESPN romance Adult Swim Ellie Kemper Awards Photos TV Land Toys TCA 2017 APB Comedy IFC Films Countdown TIFF based on movie TruTV 007 Reality Set visit Showtime Video Games RT History transformers Extras Quiz finale Summer Superheroes aliens BBC America El Rey Kids & Family Polls and Games New York Comic Con historical drama Spike USA Network sitcom Marathons harry potter Premiere Dates Schedule Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 21st Century Fox OWN Captain marvel Shondaland 2015 spider-man SXSW Apple Universal ratings spy thriller cats 20th Century Fox discovery miniseries Sneak Peek Country Sundance President Cartoon Network robots Lionsgate DC streaming service FX E! Creative Arts Emmys PaleyFest Starz cops SundanceTV Fox News Song of Ice and Fire Crackle DC Universe Columbia Pictures Rom-Com TCA technology YouTube Premium Mary Tyler Moore Acorn TV binge boxoffice war Fall TV Ghostbusters Chilling Adventures of Sabrina television golden globes Animation Podcast TV crime justice league Ovation Biopics police drama Winners A&E Disney Oscars science fiction Disney Channel dc Certified Fresh Horror cinemax Lifetime X-Men Nickelodeon what to watch GIFs TLC singing competition Nominations anime diversity Winter TV Musicals AMC sports facebook DirecTV Star Wars Character Guide Epix See It Skip It Calendar TCM DGA Infographic Brie Larson Box Office doctor who Britbox Masterpiece biography Mary poppins Valentine's Day Thanksgiving San Diego Comic-Con NBC award winner Pop Action National Geographic Tumblr TBS Warner Bros. docudrama Holidays GoT GLAAD mutant CBS All Access 2016 Comic Book politics 2019 MCU Sci-Fi BBC Watching Series supernatural Food Network CNN USA Sundance Now Mindy Kaling streaming The Arrangement LGBTQ Black Mirror Western E3 45 Red Carpet Paramount Network Netflix Interview zombie Rocky Comedy Central SDCC YouTube Red Awards Tour composers travel Bravo Opinion Hulu Cosplay VH1 comiccon period drama adventure Teen psycho CW Seed Pirates crime thriller Drama Super Bowl First Look casting Spring TV Amazon Writers Guild of America dramedy Logo serial killer medical drama FOX Amazon Prime vampires hist unscripted comic festivals Marvel green book Trivia Comics on TV Esquire VICE Pixar 2018 The CW Trailer jamie lee curtis Shudder WGN thriller Walt Disney Pictures dceu Mary Poppins Returns cults Tomatazos Best and Worst Rock Star Trek Fantasy History Emmys Superheroe FXX crime drama political drama