In the continuing saga of Netflix-a-week movie releases, this film becomes the second of the summer to tackle the strained relationship between a father and their child. While the first was expected to be all about its Sandler-esque comedy, would this one follow the comedic route or find itself trying to tell a more impactful and emotional message? With an impressive cast that includes Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer and Seth Rogen, could this dramedy be the better of two father films?
Synopsis: When a workaholic young executive (Kristen Bell), is left at the altar, she ends up on her Caribbean honeymoon cruise with the last person she ever expected: her estranged and equally workaholic father (Kelsey Grammer). The two depart as strangers, but over the course of a few adventures, a couple of umbrella-clad cocktails and a whole lot of soul-searching, they return with a renewed appreciation for family and life. (Netflix)
Starring: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer and Seth Rogen
Writer: Lauren Miller Rogen
Director: Lauren Miller Rogen
Running Time: 98mins
The story follows the life of young workaholic Rachel (Bell) who is left at the altar by her fiance Owen (Jon Foster) when he realizes she will always be more married to her phone than to her life with him. Heartbroken, Rachel runs into her estranged father Harry (Grammer) and after a night of excessive drinking finds herself on her honeymoon cruise with him as her plus one. On the cruise, the two of them befriend the other honeymooners and go through a series of activities and adventures that help them rediscover themselves and what really matters in life.
Right off the bat let’s discuss the elephant in the room: which of these two father films is the better one to watch? By a slight margin it’s Like Father thanks to a number of strengths only it possesses. The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast headlined by some great performances by Bell and Grammer whose chemistry and charm help carry this story. Speaking of the story at its core it is a very realistic look at the relationship between estranged family members. It mostly avoids the Hollywood tropes and romanticized cliches that could have forced extra comedy or drama into the plot, but it still ends on a predictable, smile-inducing conclusion.
Unfortunately, the film mostly comes across as an advert for a Royal Caribbean cruise. The beginning of the film starts off well as the story focuses on the characters, but they become slightly secondary to the plot once they board the ship. All of the amenities and activities take center stage and if not for the charisma of Bell, Grammer and Rogen as Jeff, this story would have been lost to the features that a cruise can offer. This causes the story to become predictable and many of the minor characters come across as slightly one-dimensional which hinders the cast surrounding the leads.
Overall, Like Father is a passable dramedy that prefers realism over Hollywood tropes for its familiar family story. While it plays it safe on its comedy and emotional moments, the impressive cast does enough to keep the core story an engaging look at this father-daughter relationship. It has its moments, but ends up feeling like a long Royal Caribbean cruise advert.
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