21st Aug2018

‘Father of the Year’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: David Spade, Nat Faxon, Joey Bragg, Matt Shively, Bridgit Mendler, Jackie Sandler, Mary Gillis, Jared Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Peyton Russ, Moses Storm | Written by Brandon Cournoyer, Tyler Spindel | Directed by Tyler Spindel

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To really delve into Father of the Year would be both a waste of your time and mine. Netflix exclusives are elusive and baffling at best. Seemingly dropping down from the cinematic gods themselves onto our TV screens with little to no fanfare or anticipation. We are far beyond the realm of hit and miss, more so in the age of a constant state of bizarre. The dumping ground of studio productions has only hailed one or two inspiring pieces of cinema, most notably in Alex Garland’s Annihilation, but with each positive success, a Cloverfield: Paradox waits in the winds to pounce upon significant interest with disastrous outcomes. Its the nucleus of Netflix produced content that worries the most.

Whatever and whichever Netflix executive is greenlighting productions such as Father of the Year is in dire need of a culture check of what truly hits in the age we live in today. Dissect what Father of the Year entails and you’ll be left utterly confused to what the predicted end game was. It’s neither comedic nor entertaining. The former is a disgrace to be labelled as such, even unironically so. It’s borderline regressive in terms of cinematic values. Even the simplistic good-natured smiling viewer will be hard pressed to find any moments of humour here. It’s more a depressing journey into the unfunny, considering the joyless humorous tale of the poor working class white American, which also begs the question why this wasn’t modified to be a drama with Spade given the opportunity to spread his dramatic range. We’ve seen it done with his contemporary and friend Adam Sandler in spots throughout his career with Paul Thomas Anderson and Noah Baumbach, but perhaps like Sandler, Spade has no desire to evolve his catalogue of work. However, if one does not adapt and evolve they’re left in the wake of the unfortunate has-been in the likes of Pauly Shore. An actor I’m sure with the opportunity may have made different decisions.

Spade doesn’t have the charisma or range as his contemporaries, therefore when the film takes a turn and tips its toes ever so slightly into heartfelt drama, you can just about see him drown on screen. The shoddy collective of character traits is in the checklist standard of lousy. Alcoholic? Yes. Broad accent? Yes. Unkempt fashion? Yes. Jokes about body odour? Yes. It goes on and on until it becomes predictable to a tee. Yet, nobody expected anything more or less. It has been the constant norm for these comedians to ride this formula for as long as they can possibly afford to do. A feat that Sony had only as recently become equally as tired of much like audiences, which is inadvertently the cause of this disaster, with the likes of Kevin James, Adam Sandler, David Spade etc free from the studio system that brought you the likes of Grown Ups 2, have all headed to the streaming joint Netflix and now here we are, in utter turmoil of the idea of originality.

To even begin to actually state what actually occurs in Father of the Year via the plot would cause a serious affliction of my health. Even recollecting specific plot points or beats goes a miss. Not out of sheer ignorance but in the issue of nothing being either memorable or interesting throughout the abysmal running time, aside from David Spade being naked and creating a homemade pool in the back of his motorhome neighbours truck, which I believe is more mentally scarring than being entertaining. On paper that does sound weirdly intriguing, but be assured, it isn’t. One positive does slide out of this disastrous production. In the fact that it didn’t have a cinematic release and have people pay a sizeable cinema ticket only to sit down and see their hard earned money set alight and burn in front of their eyes.

Father of the Year is available on Netflix now.

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