A soul-searching journey through one high profile actor (or former NFL star) to the next, Father Figures is very likely going to disappear into the void of disappointing comedy films with no real lasting memory. Watch the trailer and you’ve immediately experienced all the funniest jokes that this film has to offer, with the rest of its bottom-of-the-barrel humour resting very crassly on the nose. As a comedy film, it’s really underwhelming, and with the likes of Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, it really could have been so much more.
The plot focueses on twins, played by Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, who find out their ‘dead’ biological father is indeed alive. They then venture to find him. The two very strong comedic actors fall short of convincing everyone that they are brothers, let alone twins. The chemistry is lacking, and I feel the legendary status of Owen Wilson and the current popularity of Ed Helms were the main reasons they were cast rather than how well they work on screen. They’re no Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
Lawrence Sher, the cinematographer of such classics as the Hangover trilogy and Due Date, among many other comedies involving brotherly love in some aspect, makes his first venture into directing with Father Figures. An unfortunate debut, its destiny was foreseen through the fact that, a week before its planned US release date in January 2017, the film was pushed back ten months.
Individual scenes rescue this film, and the emotive ending does pull on the heart strings. Katt Williams is excellent as the hitchhiker, using his unique persona to come out with some hilarious yet unquotable lines when he is in the car with the two leads. The jokes are occasionally funny, but Father Figures overall lacks a clear understanding of what it wants to be, falling short of both a comedy and a drama.