Though entertaining at face value, Father Figures' only real aspiration is to fill its bloated runtime. Its plot cascades along with awkwardly inserted situational humor, without ever leaving anything of substance with its viewer. With the exception of its Video Transfer, this is without a doubt the exact definition of Give It A Rent entertainment.
Sometimes, a film has so little to say that it falls into the deepest recesses of my mind as soon as the timer runs out on my player. To me, this very rare collection of films isn’t even terrible, since I vividly remember the films that inflict pain on their viewers. Instead, these films are so disposable that they have the emotional fortitude of a prank YouTube video. You watch it. You might even laugh or chuckle a bit. Then you go about your day without ever thinking about it again. This week, I was treated to the latest cinematic gem to enter my list, Father Figures.
Kyle and Peter Reynolds (Owen Wilson, Ed Helms) are two fraternal twins whose mother (Glen Close) one day reveals that the man they thought was their father, is, in fact, not. And on top of that, she has no idea which of several partners is their true biological father, so they set out on a road trip to find their birth father, and hijinks ensue. For a majority of the film, that is all the plot and character development we get. From Terry Bradshaw, to J.K. Simmons, all the way to Jack McGee, we are introduced to potential father figures with only a threadbare hint as to how they get clued into the next candidate.
That’s not to say the performances aren't solid, or that there is nothing redeemable here. As a matter of fact, with the exception of Glen Close (who seems like she is way over the top and in a different movie), the performances here are quite strong. Terry Bradshaw is actually funny as he plays a guy who finds his favorite son as soon as they approach him. And you can't forget the always reliable J.K. Simmons as the bad boy, loose cannon father figure who is just in it to pull off heists with his sons. All of these scenarios are amusing. In fact, I would even admit to chuckling once or twice. But the way they are tossed to the side without any resonance with Kyle and Peter makes these moments feel empty and disposable.
The biggest problem here has to do with how late Kyle and Peter's character arcs actually come in here. I timed it, and it wasn’t until the seventy-minute mark that we get the dynamic of their relationship and what that means to each twin. Then there is the elephant in the room, which is the fact that these two are supposed to be fraternal twins (meaning they were born together but don’t look alike). We can be expected to buy into this, yet it is never played for laughs.
While reflecting on Father Figures, I was reminded of a situation I got into with my infant son. One night I just couldn’t get my stuff together and, by the time I was ready to put him to bed, he had already taken the situation into his own hands and fallen asleep waiting for me. My mind went through the same process here; by the time this movie finally gave us some development, we had already checked out and were prepared to move on.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Warner Brother brings Father Figures to Blu-ray with standard slipcover to hardcover casing. Enclosed lies a BD-50 Blu-ray, DVD copy, and a Movies Anywhere digital download. A whole slew of skippable trailers is presented once we hit play, and afterward, we are brought to a still frame main menu that lets us navigate from there.
Father Figures takes us on a ride with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encode that is definitely the standout of this release. Framed at a 2.40:1 aspect ratio, judging by the clarity and lack of grain, I would guess this was shot digitally, though details on the filming are sparse. For such an insignificant film, this is one clear and detailed transfer, folks. Facial features, clothing, and atmosphere are ripe with detail. Day scenes enjoy a healthy dose of bright and vibrant coloring. Night scenes are crisp and clear with absolute no crushing of detail. Don’t get me wrong, this is not an ambitious effort, but it doesn’t have to be in order to admire the picture quality on display.
Father Figures gives us a traditional DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that is exactly what one would expect. Surrounds work together with fronts to create a not so front heavy mix during scenes with the score behind it. The LFE track doesn’t get much use but comes in during certain slapstick moments and the score as well. Speaker separation is subtle but apparent at certain key moments. Vocal and overall levels are exactly where they should be. Even though there are no stand outs here, there is also nothing wrong with a track that gives us exactly what we would expect. If I were to sum it up in one word I would say this track is “worksmanlike."
Deleted Scenes (HD 21:09) – A collection of absolutely disposable scenes (that were rightfully cut) which would have put this already endless film well over the two-hour mark.
Gage Reel (HD 4:26) – Typical comedian outages and antics.
Father Figures is forgettable in every way. That isn’t to say it's all bad -- the performances are solid and there are some moments that made me chuckle -- but this movie seems to go out of its way to make the safest and most vanilla comedy I have seen this year. For a rated R comedy, that is a bad thing. A great video transfer and a good Audio Mix don't stop this from being a Give It A Rent recommendation at best.