Father Figures Review

Father Figures
Twin brothers Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) embark on 'Operation Who's Your Daddy?' to track down their mother’s (Glenn Close) former flings and discover the true identity of their father. The pair travel to Miami, New York and Massachusetts in search of answers.

by Eve Barlow |
Published on
Release Date:

22 Dec 2017

Original Title:

Father Figures

There's perhaps a timely statement to be made about gender roles and the concept of fatherhood somewhere, but it's nowhere to be found in the midst of another limp bro comedy from the cinematographer of The Hangover. When twin brothers Peter (a typically nerdy Ed Helms){href='(https://www.empireonline.com/people/ed-helms/)' }) and Kyle Reynolds (a typically basic Owen Wilson) go on a quest across America in search of their real father — a roadtrip they title ‘Operation Who’s Your Daddy?’ — they're faced with a host of their mother Helen’s (Glenn Close) former flings, none of whom seem to be ideal dad material, all of whom awkwardly recall how great a lay she used to be (“It was the ’70s” yeah?).

The brothers fly to Miami to meet a former NFL player (played by the real Terry Bradshaw, whose ‘acting’ thankfully doesn't need to extend beyond throwing a football around), they travel to New York to hunt down a crooked investment banker (played by scene-stealing J.K. Simmons – the film’s one saving grace), then they take a treacherous drive to Massachusetts and — with the help of a kerrazy hitchhiker (Katt Williams) — locate a do-gooder policeman (Jack McGee) who was so honourable he actually never had sex with their mother. Along the way, they encounter many acts of bad fathering (a dad who can't stop his son from peeing on people in bathroom stalls, for instance) and attempt to form a closer bond with each other.

In the canon of great road-trip duos, however, Helms and Wilson have about as much believable chemistry as two random people sharing an Uber. So by the final attempts at heartwarming resolution it's hard to muster up any joy for two dudes who realise they were better fathers to each other than the man they never knew.

Limp jokes, bad chemistry and the least believable onscreen fraternal bond make for a very lacklustre viewing experience. Even a late appearance from Christopher Walken can't save the day.
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