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Father Figures (2017)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/3/2018

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Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/11/2018

Except for the most experimental of films and Michael Bay projects, every movie has a story. Sometimes, those stories are very flimsy, unoriginal, and, perhaps, unappealing. However, these stories may only be the skeleton onto which the true meat of the film are hung. It is times like this when a movie may lose a potential audience. The movie will be judged on that primary story and some may not get to experience the real appeal, which can occur after that main tale has been established. Something like Father Figures may seem pedestrian at first, but this seemingly mainstream comedy may be a cult movie in the making.

Dr. Peter Reynolds (Ed Helms) is an unhappy proctologist. His ex-wife has re-married and his son hates being with him. The highlight of his day is watching Law & Order. His fraternal twin brother, Kyle (Owen Wilson), is a bit different. Kyle, who struck it rich with an odd modeling job, lives in Hawaii and has no worries. The estranged siblings come together at their mother, Helen's (Glenn Close), wedding. It's here that Peter confronts his mother, questioning her story that the boys' father had died years ago. Helen admits that she had bent the truth and that their dad was out there somewhere. So, Peter and Kyle embark on a road trip to find their father. But, first, they are going to find many odd obstacles.

"Road Movies" have been around since the birth of cinema, and many of these have involved travelers who have opposing personalities. So, this idea is nothing new. From Planes, Trains, and Automobiles to Due Date to The Guilt Trip, it seems that we get at least one of these movies annually. And as time has past, they have become more and more predictable and unremarkable. The films try to milk the whole "opposites" thing and rarely try something different, although they all share common narrative traits, such as having to change vehicles and unplanned detours.

Father Figures has those things as well, as we watch Peter and Kyle clash and see them facing the roadblocks which appear on their trip. But, Screenwriter Justin Malen uses this stereotypical plot as a jumping-off point for a comedy which exists in the same strange dwelling-place where many modern comedies live. From the outset, each scene is punctuated with something just slightly quirky and the weirdness just grows from there. Things never get to a point where they are completely illogical or bizarre, but there is just enough wackiness to make one sit up and take notice. I will be the first to admit that, based on the trailer, I wasn't expecting much from the movie. But, I found myself laughing out loud quite consistently here, and really admiring how the movie wasn't afraid to venture from the norm on many occasions.

As with any film like this, the power lies within the actors and Ed Helms and Owen Wilson really nail their roles. Of course, they are playing characters which they've played many times before, with Helms being the uptight rule follower, while Wilson is the apathetic cool dude, but why mess with success? In Wilson's case, he's somewhat stepped away from this kind of role, with his turns in movies like No Escape and Wonder, but he's returned to full-fledged "nothing to worry about" Wilson here. While these two carry the film, they are surrounded by a great cast, lead by Glenn Close, whose characters seems to an odd tribute to her role in The World According to Garp. And with each stop and new candidate for fatherhood, we are treated to some great cameos.

I know that they still exist, but, for some reason, I don't seem to see that many comedies. And when I do, most of them are simply too "lowest common denominator" to be funny. Father Figures appears to be heading down that road, but it takes a left at I Don't Careville and brings us things from a bizarre hitchhiker to a hilarious cat name. No, the movie doesn't really bring anything new to the table, but it shows that you can take an old idea and surround it with new, outlandish ornaments.

Father Figures allows Terry Bradshaw to utter his second best movie line on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 33 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. While we've been spoiled by 4K UHD, this Blu-ray Disc is no slouch, as the picture shows an impressive crispness. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is notable and the depth works well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The musical montages provide some good subwoofer and surround effects, while the train sequence proves to be the audio highlight, as we are enveloped by the sound of the passing locomotive.

The Father Figures Blu-ray Disc contains only a pittance of extras. We get eleven DELETED SCENES which run about 21 minutes. There are several new scenes here, including one which shows Peter and Kyle as children, and more with Peter and his son. The only other extra is a 4-minute GAG REEL.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long