Review: Father Figures (2017)


Father Figures (2017)

Directed by: Lawrence Sher | 113 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Ed Helms, Owen Wilson, Glenn Close, JK Simmons, Ving Rhames, June Squibb, Robert Jon Mello, Retta, Zachary Haven, Mary Grill, Ann McKenzie

Forty-somethings Peter and Kyle Reynolds are shocked when they learn that the man they consider a father is not their real father. Who is the father of these fraternal twins is a difficult matter: mother Helen was a free-spirited hippie in her time with a slightly too strong sex drive and a little too bad memory. Once over the shock, Peter and Kyle look for a possible father. The journey takes them from a legendary ex-football player and a run-down scholarship type to a police officer and a man who might be a serial killer but might not be.

So much for the story of ‘Father Figures’, a film that combines comedy and drama with a classic road movie. As it should be in a road movie, the estranged brothers grow closer and closer. The two are, of course, polar opposites: Kyle (the ever-trustworthy Owen Wilson) is an irresponsible bon vivant who has amassed a fortune by luck. Peter (Ed Helms) is a boring doctor who has already been divorced and is too depressed to go after the women.

‘Father Figures’ is more comedy than drama, but falls short on both fronts anyway. The drama of the estranged brothers contains too many clichés and occasionally goes off the rails (something with a train accident). The humor is often too bland for words and for the most part is about sex, orifices and other childish fixations. The low point is a pee fight in a public toilet between Kyle and a maladjusted boy. As bad as that humor is, we really didn’t see one joke coming and made up for a lot (but not everything).

Fortunately, the story itself does. The search for the mysterious father takes the viewer across America, with quite a few beautiful figures passing by. As a viewer you never know where you will end up, which ensures that you are not bored for a second. In addition, the journey leads to a satisfying and logical end point.

All this makes ‘Father Figures’ a film that is easy to endure, provided you are not allergic to bland humor and saltless drama. But backed by a solid cast (Glenn Close, Ed Helms, JK Simmons, Christopher Walken) and a solid story, this ‘Father Figures’ isn’t a complete failure either.