Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Father of the Year

Summary: Ben (Joey Bragg) just graduated from college as valedictorian and has plans to work his dream job in New York with his best friend Larry (Matt Shively) tagging along. But first he pays a visit to his layabout father Wayne (David Spade) who, through a very bizarre mixup, starts a fight with Mardy (Nat Faxon), who is both a scientist and a wimp who gets bullied by his eight-year-old stepson Aiden (Peyton Russ). This winds up getting Ben into loads of trouble, so he has to build a pool for Mardy’s elderly neighbor Ruth (Mary Gillis) to get her to drop charges for damage the fight did to her property, but he’s also trying to impress his middle and high-school crush Meredith (Bridgit Mendler) while Mardy becomes paranoid of Wayne and…


*looks through pages of notes and the empty Wikipedia page*

Christ, I can’t do this. I can’t conceivably form a coherent plot out of this unraveled sweater of story threads. Let’s just get to the review.

Review: Father of the Year was quite an astounding movie, by which I mean a few things. It was astounding how it made an hour and thirty minutes feel like a whole day. It was astounding how plotless and unfunny the whole thing was. It was astounding how it embraces banal sensibilities of the world that we as a species have been decrying for years now. But most of all, it was astounding how it made me not care which came first: the end credits or the sweet release of death.

This is a Happy Madison movie, so the usual complaints are present — a meandering plot that serves only as an excuse to tie together jokes that aren’t funny and attempts at heartwarming moments about characters we really don’t care about. But there’s something about the way this film does its business that makes everything feel really uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the fact that none of the characters seem to act like human beings or that their values all seem to come from the Book of Douche. People lie, cheat, act unpleasant or icky to one another, or are otherwise just pathetic in a way that feels like a stereotype of a stereotype. Unfortunate implications run abound in this flick too, like how aggression and violence is met with praise, particularly from the female types as if someone was more desirable for “being a real man.” I feel like this was a movie written in the 80s or 90s, but couldn’t get released then because it was too awful.

To paraphrase Yatzhee from Zero Punctuation, the biggest indictment of a comedy is not being funny, but even worse is when it tries to compensate by putting me off my dinner. Oh my, of all the disgusting things they try to pass as comedy, it’s just so hard to choose a favorite. Do I pick the part where the 8-year-old puts urine in the humidifier? How about the 90-year-old woman sleazily hitting on Larry while he has his shirt off? How about the love interest insulting our main lead on the size of his penis, which is both gross and uncomfortable? No, for me, the crowner was when was skinny dipping in a makeshift pool in someone’s pickup truck and then ejected onto the ground, mainly because I now have a mild idea of what David Spade’s junk looks like and now I expect to fall asleep screaming for nights to come.

To be honest, while I love really tearing into a bad movie, I don’t want to talk about this movie anymore. Apart from being bad, I came away from it feeling very gross and thinking about it just makes me uncomfortable. I don’t get why this movie was made nor do I understand why anyone would watch it (unless you’re doing movie reviews). It’s insanely boring too and I can’t imagine even the most devout Happy Madison fans defending it, unless they claim it’s a satire. Well, as someone who’s studied satire in class, I can tell you that it’s not. What it is, however, is an uncomfortable, mean-spirited mess that aims for the lowest common denominator and can’t even hit that high. F*** this movie.

Fun Tidbit: This is the first Happy Madison Netflix movie done without any involvement from Adam Sandler. While it’s nice to see him taking some time to reflect and improve (I hope), it’s astonishing to think of Sandler as a force of restraint.

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