Father Figures (2017)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Success has many fathers, but failure is Father Figures.

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Movie Info

Two brothers (Owen Wilson and Ed Helms) hit the road to find their long-lost dad after they learn that their mom has been lying to them about his death. This comedy was directed by Lawrence Sher.

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Cast

Ed Helms
as Peter
J.K. Simmons
as Ronald Hunt
Ving Rhames
as Rod Hamilton
Christopher Walken
as Dr. Tinkler
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Critic Reviews for Father Figures

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (14)

Father Figures is not just painfully anti-charming, it is transparently desperate.

December 22, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

"Father Figures" is what happens when you throw a comedy and the laughs forget to show up.

December 22, 2017 | Rating: D | Full Review…

Distinguished mainly by its overqualified cast and lack of inspiration, "Father Figures" can't decide whether it's a gross-out comedy or an uplifting tale of brotherly love; it embraces the worst of both worlds.

December 22, 2017 | Full Review…

At first [Helms and Wilson] seem incompatible. But their journey through family secrets delivers surprising charm.

December 22, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Director Sher shows no special affinity for comic pacing or enlivening dialogue scenes, so the movie just plods from scene to scene, building no momentum.

December 21, 2017 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Would you like to watch Wilson and a young child urinate on each other in a rest stop bathroom? Thought not.

December 21, 2017 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Father Figures

So, yea, I believe I may have mentioned this in prior reviews, but I've never been closed to my father. You've heard the story before, absentee father. I only remember spending, in 30 years, less than two weeks with him. I feel like that counts towards my goal. With that said, for the most part, I'm the type of person that believes in second chances if the person involved has earned those chances. But there's on exception where I wouldn't apply that and that is if my father ever attempted to come back into my life. I have no real interest in that, in a lot of cases, this is done for their own peace of mind as opposed to genuine interest in their children's lives. I have no interest in helping to clear up my father's own conscience. Not to mention the fact that I feel it would be incredibly disrespectful to the work that my mom (and aunt) put into raising me. I feel so strongly about this that I wouldn't even consider it even if he was on his deathbed. Which I know is incredibly selfish, but I do not give a fuck. He is a person I do not know and I do not wish to associate with him or his family in any significant way. Look, here's the thing, there's plenty of great dads out there and I'm not trying to say that all fathers are the same based solely on my experience So with that downer of an aside out of the way, shall we move on to this movie? I would like to say, right off the bat, that this movie is really well-intentioned. Its heart is in the right place and it has the pieces at its core, as in solid and likable performances from Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, but I do think the movie really does not work as well as they intended it to. I think that this movie, initially, started out as something a little more thoughtful and introspective meditation on the nature of fatherhood and the bond between two brothers. In short, this is a movie about two men, sort of, coming-of-age through their search for their father, whom they long thought to be dead. Kyle's about to be a father, Peter's relationship with his son is lacking and, maybe, going on this quest to find their dad would help give them some closure and allow them to evolve into the people they need to be. But, somewhere along the way, all of that got lost in the search to make this a more broadly comedic movie that they could sell to a casual audience for the holiday season (this was released three days before last year's Christmas). Here's the thing, I think there's a decent idea here and I like both Ed Helms and Owen Wilson in this movie, they're very good. I just feel that the movie doesn't really give them much to do. Their characterizations are also quite uninspired. Peter (Ed's character) is a tightly wound and Kyle is overly optimistic. It's the typical opposites attract nonsense, because they know that, theoretically speaking, they can mine some 'comedy' out of that concept based on the contrasting personalities between the brothers. And that's a problem, because the brothers don't feel fully-formed or well-developed, their personalities are the way they are because it's easier for them to, again, mine some 'comedy' out of it. It doesn't really work, to me. There's a few funny moments for sure, but I think the movie is at odds with itself with trying to tell this more sentimental story of two brothers going on a road trip to find their fathers and...themselves (I hated typing that out, I really did) with the broader attempts at humor. Like Owen Wilson's character pees on a kid at the behest of his father since the kid, apparently, likes to pee on people and Owen peeing on him might be the only way to teach the kid a lesson. Like, seriously, how in the fuck does that really fit in with the rest of the story the movie is trying to tell??? JK Simmons' character taking his 'sons' out to rob a car under the guise of him being a repo man. And, of course, naturally finding themselves in a situation where Peter and Kyle are being hunted down by the people who own the car. The comedy doesn't work with the drama, it just doesn't. Oh and Peter hasn't had sex since he divorced his wife three years ago, so the sub-quest (side mission, if you will) is to get Peter laid, because of course it is. It's not that this type of story can't be told in the way this film chose to, it's just that this movie is handled really unskillfully. Like the comedy was just thrown in together to make the movie more easily marketable since, really, this never had any chance to win any serious movie awards, so why not try to get some money out of it, if you can. Though, really, that failed as well as the movie just broke even. Didn't make any less than its budget, didn't make any more. To this movie's credit, it's not like I thought this was a bad movie like CHiPs was. Both movies were published by Warner Bros, so that should tell you something right there. Regardless, this wasn't that bad of a movie. It's just one that's wildly incompetent in how it wants to handle its comedy and its drama. Another thing is that the movie has quite the sentimental ending and, ultimately, it would be a sweet ending if I felt it was earned. The movie doesn't earn that ending in the slightest as a result of its scripting inconsistencies and inability to mix the drama and the comedy properly. I wouldn't go out of my way to watch this movie, if I were you. It has a decent enough concept and a good cast, but the movie falls well short of what it should have been. If you love your father (or mother) and you wanna watch something that shows you how grateful you are to them then, please, don't watch this movie with them. They deserve so much better.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

½

The film is very funny at times but like Wilson's other attempt at high range comedy, The Big Year, it struggles to maintain a story and the crude humour. You look at the talented cast and you expect something much more interesting but seeing what has happened to the choices Wilson has made of recent time, you can't help but feel disappointed. The ending will some up what is wrong with the film, they attempt to make you care after all the pointless jokes, why wasn't a DNA test ever considered? The film is good for a once only but you'll forget it exists and move right along to another comedy that misses the mark. This is exactly what is wrong with comedies at this current moment and time, they lack true comedy and fail to engage the actors hired to portray the slim characters. This could have been a fun indie film but with a large budget it sinks in typical Hollywood disarray. 12/11/2018.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

LAW & ORDER: SVU is used as the pivotal plot device that sets everything in motion. It's the best joke in the movie.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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