Father Figures

Bastards Movie Poster

When you see Ed Helms and Owen Wilson, is the first thing that pops into your head that they look like twins?  I mean, even going as far as making them fraternal twins, is there anything in common?

The new film Father Figures is asking you to make that jump, as they play brothers who have just found out from their mother (Glenn Close of all people) that the man who she had told them was their father was in fact not their father.  She then told her sons that she did not know who the father really was as she was quite the sex pot during the seventies.  Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) take off on a cross country road trip in search of their true father.

I was not looking forward to this movie as it really looked stupid.  And, unfortunately, it was very much stupid.  The comedy was non-existent throughout the film and, when there was comedy, it was pretty low brow (for example, there was a scene of a little boy and Owen Wilson peeing on each other at a bathroom urinal).

But a funny thing happened as I was watching this… I found that there was a strange heart to the move.  In particular, the scenes between Ed Helms and Owen Wilson were surprisingly enjoyable and connected with me with the feels.

Don’t misunderstand me, most everything else about this movie was just stupid as could be, but the relationship between the brothers was pretty well done.  Both of these characters were developed and their connection was one that you could definitely see and fell.  I did not expect how much I would connect to these two characters.

Sadly, that was where the film’s positives ended.  A great cast (Glenn Close, J.K. Simmons, Christopher Walken, June Squibb, Ving Rhames) was wasted.  Terry Bradshaw had a section of the film.  I am not sure if the director expected Bradshaw to bring acting chops with him, but he was about as stiff as you would expect.

The storyline was ridiculous.  Each new “father” that Peter and Kyle arrived to see got increasingly more and more absurd, and not in a good way.  There was nothing that was funny.  The best section of the film, with hitchhiker Katt Williams, was spoiled in the trailers.  The plot meandered around without any real coherent thought.  It was like “what can we throw these two into next?” was the concept and they executed that certainly.

Still, I came out of Father Figures with a decent feeling, especially when thinking back on the two main leads and their story together.  Not their ridiculous wild goose chase or their incomprehensible side tracks on their trip, but the actual relationship between two men who loved each other but had a difficult time liking one another.  If there was more about this in the script, then Father Figures would have been a considerably better movie.

As it is now, Father Figures is an unfunny and undisciplined film with a poor script, senseless story beats and a cast that is wasted, but that also had a few moments of real heart that were just too few and far between.

2.4 stars

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