It’s not that Mark Wahlberg can’t do comedy; he’s just better known for his action crime thrillers. Over the years, though, Wahlberg has found comfort within the comedy realm and one of his funny films is now sitting at number eight on Paramount+.
Daddy’s Home stars Mark Wahlberg as the rough and tumble Dusty Mayron, ex-husband to Sara (Linda Cardellini), and father to their young children, Megan and Dylan. Will Ferrell is Brad Whitaker, Sara’s new husband and stepfather to the kids. We find out early on that Brad believes himself to be sterile from an accident years prior. We also see that the kids, in absence of Dusty, have begun to develop a great relationship with Brad, telling him their wishes and secrets.
One night, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) calls to speak to the kids and finds out that Sara has married Brad. Dusty then informs Sara he is coming into town to meet Brad and to show their children the importance of him and Brad having a respectful relationship.
Immediately upon meeting Dusty, Brad is intimidated. Dusty’s rough exterior and muscular persona are in stark contrast to Brad’s strait-laced, button-up appearance. They are definitely not cut from the same cloth.
To make matters worse, although Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) has been an absent father, his charm toward his ex-wife and their kids is spot on. His charm toward Brad (Will Ferrell) is a whole different matter. Brad catches on early that Dusty’s intentions are not honorable ones. In fact, Dusty comes straight out and tells Brad that he intends to drive Brad out of the family. The battle begins, though it is heavily one-sided. Dusty starts by getting Brad and Sara to a fertility doctor where Dusty hopes that again pointing out Brad’s “issue” will drive a wedge between Brad and Sara.
Brad becomes desperate and instead of confronting Dusty, he goes on a spending spree, purchasing expensive gifts for an early Christmas. Taking Brad to a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game with expensive floor tickets does not end well for Brad in one of the film’s funnier moments. Slowly, though, as Dusty wins his battle removing Brad from the family, he begins to realize what being a father is all about. He also finds out, eventually, that Sara no longer has time for his antics and her heart belongs to Brad.
Does Dusty finally relent? Seeing eye-to-eye with Brad was never in his cards but understanding how Brad treats his kids goes a long way.
When Mark Wahlberg first teamed up with comedic heavyweight Will Ferrell in 2010s The Other Guys, it seemed like the sometimes wooden-acting Wahlberg would be completely out of his league. Think of a modern-day Abbott and Costello. Okay, that may be taking things a bit far, but the comparison does have some merit. Abbott was always the “straight man”, while Costello provided much of the laughs. Abbott always made Costello the butt of the jokes, and Costello relished that position. Same goes with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Wahlberg has the ability to get off some zingers, but it is Ferrell who provides the bulk of the laughs.
The Other Guys was a hit for the duo, but it took them another five years before they’d find their next project with Daddy’s Home. Sean Anders directed Daddy’s Home from a script he co-wrote with Brian Burns and John Morris.
Like their first pairing, Daddy’s Home was a financial hit. Anders made the film for $50 million, and the duo brought butts to seats to the tune of $243 million at the box office.
Unfortunately for both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, their third time was not a charm. After the success of Daddy’s Home, the pair went the sequel route in 2017 with Daddy’s Home 2. Despite both returning and adding to the cast with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as Dusty and Brad’s fathers, the film fell flat.
Mark Wahlberg’s three films with Ferrell were not the only films where Wahlberg played things for laughs. He played another “straight man” in the Steve Carell/Tina Fey comedy Date Night, then also played it for laughs in Ted and its sequel, Ted 2.
For the most part, though, Mark Wahlberg has enjoyed tremendous success in the action thriller genre. Marky Mark opened eyes with his big part (pun intended) as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights, then began to climb the A-list ladder with movies like Three Kings, The Perfect Storm, Planet of the Apes, Four Brothers, and The Departed.
Along the way, there were a few misfires such as The Happening and Max Payne, but these misfires are few and far between. Currently, Mark Wahlberg can be seen in the Paramount+ original movie Infinite, which unfortunately is beginning to look like one of those few misfires.
Up next for Mark Wahlberg is the movie adaptation of the popular video game franchise, Uncharted. Then he will reteam with Mel Gibson in Stu. Wahlberg has two more projects lined up, one titled Arthur the King and the other is The Six Billion Dollar Man, based on the hit ‘70s TV series, The Six Million Dollar Man.
You can catch Mark Wahlberg dishing out smiles in Daddy’s Home on Paramount+.