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) 61%

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

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