Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by gareth0
By Ryan Guerra
This movie is not what you think it is. The trailer makes you think it is just another Vince Vaughn money grab centered around a mostly unfunny ridiculous premise. After all, in my option, Vaughn has not made a memorable comedy since the Wedding Crashers. And in a way, this film is all still all those things. However unexpectedly, it is also a feel good story about family, growth and the coming of age as a father.
The premise of this movie is outrageous. Vaughn is an underachiever at life with a big heart and money problems. He is a good man but cannot seem to get his life in order. That is until he gets notified that he has fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic over 20 years ago. When some of those children decide to file a lawsuit to learn his identity he must decide what to do and how it will affect his life.
This movie marks Vaughn’s step towards the more serious direction that comic actors take later in their careers. It is very much Vaughn’s attempt at Adam Sandler’s Spanglish (only not as good). Fans of the over the top antics of Vaughn will be disappointed as his character is mostly serious with only a few moments of delivered comedy. Instead we watch as his character transforms his life by “secretly” interacting with several of his children who are unaware he is their father. He becomes somewhat of a “guardian angel” to them, which in turns gives his own life meaning and purpose. I was surprised by Vaughn’s performance. When he is not being over the top, he is very much capable as an “everyman.” I would not be surprised to see him take more serious roles like this in the future, while leaving most of the comedy in these films to the next generation of comedians…such as Chris Pratt.
Pratt plays Vaughn’s best friend and lawyer and provides most of the comic relief in this film. His delivery is good and his entertaining character steals the screen when he is on it, but unfortunately he is not in the film enough, and it is noticeable. The film suffers through some pacing issues when he is not on screen. It felt as though Pratt’s character would come in at just the right time for a few laughs and leave until the next laughs are need. However there are longer periods where he is not on screen and the film really slows during these times. Add in his comedic family dynamic with his four children and Pratt is the most memorable part of this film.
The soul of this film is identifying the relationship of men in the family dynamic. We see Vaughn evolve in several different family scenarios. First, with his father and brothers in the family business, they all see him as the underachiever and are quick to give him their advice of how he should live his life. Next we see Vaughn with his pregnant girlfriend who does not believe in him as he struggles to show her that he can be supportive for her and a good father. Last we see Vaughn become a father figure and support of several of his adult children. Throw in Pratt’s character as the failed lawyer and stay at home father dynamic and we get what it means to be a Man, Father, Son and friend.
All in all, this was not a terrible film. It is not the comedy that fans of Vaughn will expect to see but nor does it succeed in creating enough of a serious and believable story that makes it memorable. If you are just looking for something that is easy, with a few laughs to pass the time on a Saturday afternoon, this movie is definitely matinee worthy.
3 out of 5 Stars