What a careless movie. I get that it’s always nice to have a movie about the struggles of single parenting, as too many families suffer from that, but does it have to be this unfocused? There’s no sense of direction in Fatherhood, any of its attempts at making you laugh and cry just turn out as flat as a can of coke opened well past expiration.
Immediately within the first act, it’s clear that no course of action was established in terms of where the script will go. When the widower, Matt, is told that he has to relocate while also raising his daughter, Maddy, by himself, he says he’ll think about it, but his process of “thinking about it” takes around ten seconds, so you never really feel he did so. What he needed instead was some interaction with his peers, such as the doctors, to further influence his ultimate decision. Rather than building up the film with meaningful discussions, it drags it out with pointless montages. Then it has the nerve to randomly throw in the rambling type of humor that detracts from the scenes’ purposes. That’s one of the biggest issues with this movie: so much padding and no trimming.
Among its ideas of padding and trimming includes altering the true story so it fits our PC culture’s idea of “diversity,” where it’s just Black and White, and without much inclusion of other ethnicities such as Indians or Asians. Even worse, its idea of “diversity” is making a movie Blacker, which means changing the ethnicity of real-life people. Look more into the historical accuracy of Matt Logelin’s true story: he and his daughter were White, not Black. Imagine if it was reversed, where a real-life Black person was played by a White actor in the biopic of his life—if that happened, then everyone would call it disgustingly racist. Plus, this feature fails to even portray Blackness without any of the negative stereotypes… it makes a reference to that viral “Never Scare a Black Man” video for the sake of an unfunny joke.
As if the skewing of facts for awful reasons wasn’t bad enough, the location wasn’t right either. These events actually took place in Los Angeles, not Boston, like in this movie. There’s no moralistic nor narrative purpose for this change of coast, it seems that the reason for the location alteration is because the crew just wanted an excuse to travel up to that grand Northeast city and visit its iconic tourist attractions.
It does have its moments though, such as a scene where Matt tries to do Maddy’s hair in the morning, a situation where they both just get frustrated; it works as a subtle way to convey his survivor’s guilt over the untimely passing of his wife a mere day after giving birth. So in terms of making you feel certain things, it accomplishes that to some extent. There’s upbeat music and no other noise heard when the baby is born, providing happy feelings right before the terror strikes of Matt needing to care for the baby singlehandedly. Kevin Hart cries so real in those scenes, so he’s certainly got acting talent as he conveys that struggle, he helps convey how overworked and sleep-deprived so many single parents are.
There’s also a dialogue exchange that implies some commentary against businesses by calling their chain of bosses over other bosses, “a-hole chains.” It even uses that to prove just how much help single dads really need, and it makes you want to help other single dads you may know. To much greater extent, it proves why corporations are not doing anything to help those single dads, and how the system needs to change. The commentary on broken system gets a lot more personal still, enough to ignite the attention of everybody… Maddy is seen being bullied at Catholic school, and she’s the one blamed by dressing in such a way that would make her a target for bullying, thus, she’s made to start wearing a skirt rather than the pants she’d rather wear. This is a predicament you feel truly angry about, because sadly so many schools mistreat so many kids this way.
If only those little redeeming instances were focused on a grander scale that would save the entire production. It can’t even do the crowd-pleasing components right; I’m sure every parent who went through the process of childbirth would be turned off by the lack of blood seen coming from the baby’s umbilical cord when it’s cut. It especially gets super gross when Matt tries to dunk a used diaper through a basketball hoop, which is only there for the type of brief cheap laugh seen in a movie thrown together by Happy Madison Productions. With all that Matt goes through, his grief doesn’t come across as frequently or as effectively as it needed, so consequently, you will not be grieving for him either. Maddy has some moments of grieving that show how much better she’d be if she had a woman figure to look up to, but she has never even met her mother, so she shouldn’t feel as sad as her father. Would you feel sad when more attention is put on a dirty diaper splattering onto the wall than on a father’s remorse?
But the most annoying part of all is when it copies a major plot point from Kramer vs. Kramer almost exactly, right down to a mention about losing an eye; this movie shouldn’t have done that, as it just reminded me of a phenomenal, worthwhile movie I would much rather be watching.
Why should we waste our time watching something that isn’t doing anything bold? Why bother with something that is just going to be forgotten the next day? And more importantly, why give our time to something that is disrespectful to what really happened? So I ask of you to please not consider watching Fatherhood, our children are depending on that decision.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!