Father Figures

Expectations, all of us have them and occasionally our expectations live up to exactly as we assume they will; other times, we are wrong. The movie Father Figures, a comedy film directed by Lawrence Sher and written by Justin Malen is not only about two brothers searching for their biological father, but the journey and the expectations that go along with the journey.

Peter Reynolds (Ed Helms) is a man who is disenchanted with his life. He’s a doctor who’s still struggling with his divorce from three years ago, and the prospects of connecting with a son who wants nothing to do with him. His fraternal twin brother Kyle, on the other hand, has the picture-perfect life. Wealthy for being nothing more than a surf bum on the beach and being at the right place at the right time; with a new baby on the way with his long-term (6 month) relationship.

An unlikely event opens Peter’s eyes to the life he has known; a life where the father he believed to be his died of colon cancer, which dictated his career and life choices. The event exposed the lies that their mother had told them and the man they believed to be their father all along, never was.

The realization sends the two brothers on a mission to discover who their real father is, and also discover a bit about themselves along the way. Their journey of discovery will take them from Florida to Massachusetts, and several places in-between. All of this, with of hopes of unraveling the mystery of who their real father is and what role, if any, he could fill in their existing lives.

Ed Helms, portrays his character brilliantly. A man who is kind, good-hearted and responsible. The one who even with all his good intentions, never feels like he is able to get ahead. Owen Wilson plays what I feel is one of his best roles to date, as the ying to Ed Helms yang, the happy-go-lucky, never have a care in the world character. The two have a chemistry on the screen that draws you into their personal struggles with lots of laughter along the way.

The cast of “fathers”, are all brilliantly portrayed, whether it’s Terry Bradshaw portraying himself; J. K. Simons, as the lovable “jerk”; and the always talented Christopher Walken as the family veterinarian Dr. Walter Tinkler. Glenn Close does an absolutely amazing performance as the brother’s mother Helen Baxter.

There are plenty of laughs to be had through the movie, but it’s the amount of heart that the movie shows that really drew me in. As I spoke in the beginning, about expectations, I myself had expectations that the movie would be just another slap-stick comedy, with the characters getting into one hilarious situation after another. While this certainly did happen (it is still a comedy after-all), none of the bits seemed outrageous or done for the sake of shock value. As with most movies that fall into this genre, there are scenes which some may feel provided nothing to the story, and were there simply for adolescent humor or to justify the R rating, but none of these detracted from the film as a whole. I didn’t expect to come out of this movie not only quoting some of the very memorable lines, but also reflecting on where their journey began and where it ended.

Father Figures is much more than a simple comedy, and it’s far more than simply a “who’s your daddy” adventure. It’s a movie about self-discovery and more importantly, the journey to get you there. The folks at Warner Bros. Pictures should be commended on not only the casting of the roles, but for producing a story they can be proud of.

4 out of 5 stars



Second review by Joshua Aja


Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) Reynolds are twin brothers living opposite lives. Peter is unhappy over worked proctologist, who is depressed by his job, his divorce and a son who dislikes him. Kyle is a constantly happy surfer from Hawaii who lives on the royalties from being pictured on the logo of a famous hot sauce. The two haven’t seen each other in years but they come together to celebrate the wedding of their mother, Helen (Glenn Close). After Kyle gives a heartwarming toast his beautiful girlfriend whispers to him and he announces that they are going to have a baby. Not needing to hear more about his brother’s seemingly perfect life, Peter retreats to his old bedroom to watch TV by himself. While watching TV he notices that one of the actors on TV looks surprisingly like an older version of the picture his mother had given him. The picture was of his and Kyle’s father, who had died of colon cancer when the boys were babies. Or so they had thought. He rushes back out to the wedding and drags his mother and brother inside. After some probing Helen confesses that she had not been honest about the boy’s father. In fact, she wasn’t sure who their father really was. They are shocked and looking for answers. When reluctantly Helen gives them a name of their possible father Peter and Kyle decide to set out to meet the father they had been missing for forty years. But who is their father is it the former football great, the ex-Wall Street investor or some yet undiscovered ex-lover of their beloved mother? The two set out on to find out the answer.

This is the directorial debut for Lawrence Sher (Cinematographer for I Love You Man, The Hangover, etc.). For a first time it was well done. There were some really funny moments but I was surprised at how deep the movie was. It was definitely a movie that showed a lot of the more funny moments in the trailer, not all the funny moments because there are some really funny parts. But it was less raunchy buddy comedy than I had expected. I give the movie credit by taking a chance in that way. I would say that it missed at times and the jokes for me fell a little flat at times. Too much of the same thing isn’t always good, but there was enough comedy to make you laugh and enough drama to make you think. Helms and Wilson have decent chemistry. Kat Williams is really funny in his short time on screen. The rest of the cast is okay but not especially memorable.

I would probably watch this movie again if it was on television but nothing overly memorable. Could fun to watch with a large audience but not a laugh riot and probably best enjoyed at home. Nothing overly raunchy so a good movie to stream on the bus or a plane.

2.5 out of 5