Father Figures Movie Review
“Father Figures” is a movie about fraternal twins who go out on the road to find their real father. The two guys were told by their mother that dad died soon after they were born. But she has hidden the truth, and now these two brothers want to find out what really happened. The mom had lied because she was embarrassed at how she behaved in the swinging 70’s and she did not want the boys to know too much. But now forty years later, the truth must come out.
Peter Reynolds (Ed Helms), an uptight and repressed doctor, had always thought that his dad was long gone. But when his mom, Helen Baxter (Glenn Close) , gets married – he and his brother found out the truth. His brother Kyle (Owen Wilson) is a easy-going surfer dude from Hawaii. He happened to get picked for a gig posing for a hot sauce label picture when he was young, and it has paid him off handsomely. Peter has always been jealous that Kyle never had to work hard to get ahead…
Peter and Kyle find out that Helen was a free-love hippie type in the 70’s, and she went with many different guys. She knows that one of them is the father, but she still will not say for sure. She first thinks it was probably her love interest back then, Terry Bradshaw. Yes, the former quarterback and Fox Sports analyst Bradshaw. They travel to meet him, and they get along really well. But that potential father does not exactly pan out, so they try another man named Ronald Hunt (J. K. Simmons).
Hunt is weird and mysterious, but turns out to be a thief and a miscreant. And he also cannot be related to Kyle and Peter. Hunt does give them a name of another man only known as ‘Sparkly P’. The brothers are very confused about where to go next. They find a guy out on the road needing a ride north. They pick up the hitchhiker (Katt Williams) who is first mistaken as a black serial killer, but later becomes a back-seat therapist to the constant bickering between Peter and Kyle.
Peter meets a very nice woman named Sarah (Katie Aselton) that turns into a long awaited one-night stand. Peter had been divorced for many years, and is too tense with women to ask anyone out. He and Sarah hookup, and Kyle acts a polite wingman for the occasion. Sarah disappears early the next day, they lose track of her. But later the two brothers find a lead on the ‘Sparkly P’ character and it leads them to a retired policeman. But he winds up dead a few days prior, and the wake is at his house. That is where they happen to see Peter’s new girlfriend. But could they be related? The policeman’s brother says no, it was another of Helen’s boyfriends in the 70’s.
They travel back home to see if it is Helen’s final boyfriend. He is Dr. Walter Tinkler, a local veterinarian (Christopher Walken). But soon after meeting Tickler and their mother, she tells them the truth. That makes all the difference, and they a no longer interested in doing any more searching for anyone.
This movie seems to spend a lot of time traveling, but it never seems to get anywhere. The plot meanders quite a lot. The jokes are funny in some parts, but they can also fall very flat. The whole concept is OK, but there is not a lot of meat on this bone. The characters are mostly dull and without too much spark. The ridiculous nature of what is going on strains the humor. Oh yeah, it’s funny when someone gets run into by a car… Wow, what a gag – the car gets hit by a train, and now his brother might be dead. What a riot…
Owen Wilson plays the person that Owen Wilson always plays. He is a good-natured slacker with an offbeat sense of humor. Ed Helms plays the white and uptight guy that he is known for in most all his performances. Glenn Close is OK as a mother with a mysterious past. J. K. Simmons looks like is having fun playing a nasty bastard. Katt Williams is good, but his role is short and they do not treat his character very well. Christopher Walken is in a quick cameo in a short segment. Katie Aselton is cute and spritely in a mindless role.
So, if it comes time to hit the road to look for your own father, you can do better than these clowns did in “Father Figures”. This is a road trip that quickly runs out of gas…
Father Figures Review
Father Figures Summary
Directed by: Lawrence Sher
Written by: Justin Malen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J. K. Simmons, Katt Williams, Terry Bradshaw, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close, Katie Aselton
Length: 113 minutes
MPAA rating: R - for language and sexual references throughout
Genre: Comedy, Road Trip