Father Of The Year – review (Netflix)

    Ben (Joey Bragg) and his best friend, Larry (Matt Shively) go to visit Ben’s layabout, wastrel of a father, Wayne (David Spade). Ben is a college valedictorian and is leaving for New York, having got a job at a progressive, tech company, ISG. Ben is not overly excited to see his father, only doing so out of duty. Wayne shows himself to be as much of a loser as Ben believes. 

     Ben is out with Larry and a couple of friends, Nathan (Jared Sandler) and PJ (Bill Kottkamp). The friends all have different plans and are meeting up for a final get together before they begin their adult lives and careers. Ben meets Meredith (Bridgit Mendler), a girl he has known since they were both children. 

    Ben is instantly attracted to her and tries to get her number. She gives him two digits, but she also tells him that she works for a delivery company. Larry meanwhile, is kissing Meredith’s friend. He has a seemingly irresistible draw for women. The two drunk friends end up talking about fighting. Larry says that he would fight Ben’s dad. 

    Ben scoffs at the notion of Larry fighting his father, saying that his dad gets into fights all the time. Larry says even his dad, who is no fighter, could beat up Ben’s dad. They go over to Larry’s house. His dad, Mardy (Nat Faxon) is henpecked by his wife, Krystal (Jackie Sandler) and his step-son, Aiden (Peyton Russ) takes advantage of Mardy’s weak personality, playing practical jokes on him that usually involve far too much urine. 

    Larry still believes his dad would beat Wayne, even going as far as to ask his dad if he could beat him. Mardy is noncommittal, but recounts, at Larry’s behest, a vague story of stopping a flasher who had been terrorising the neighbourhood. 

    Ben sees his dad the next day and tells him about the fight question. Wayne says he has had loads of fights and asks Ben if he thinks he would win. Ben reluctantly says he believes he would. Wayne is not happy about Ben’s response. Ben begs him not to do anything stupid. 

   Ben orders random deliveries from Meredith’s company in the hope of seeing her. After the eighth order, she turns up on the ninth. He tries to get her number again, but she tells him she does not want to be his hometown fling, as she knows he is leaving for New York. 

    A drunken Wayne recalls his conversation with Ben. He is convinced that Ben has no respect for him. He goes to fight Mardy, ringing Ben in a drunken state to tell him so. Ben and Larry race over to Larry’s house to try and stop him. 

    Wayne is discussing the notion of him and Mardy fighting when their sons turn up. He gives Mardy a chance to hit him first but Mardy decides to run. Mary runs through the house and ends up on the roof. Ben, who has chased the two fathers through the house, grabs Wayne before he can attack Mardy. They fall off the roof and destroy the neighbour’s greenhouse. 

   Ben and Wayne get arrested. Because of the arrest, Ben has his job offer rescinded. He also has to build a swimming pool for, Ruth (Mary Gillis), the neighbour whose greenhouse he demolished. They go to the local hardware store. Meredith’s father owns the store so she works there. She gives Ben two more digits of her phone number. 

    Larry’s family decide to have an intervention with him. They do not see his life going anywhere and Mardy tells him that he should come and work with him in his lab. Ben struggles to build the swimming pool. Wayne decides to join a science testing group so as he can get some money for Ben. Mardy is leading the testing. Mardy recognises Wayne and begins to panic, but Wayne, who was drunk at the time, does not recognise Mardy. 

    Meredith brings Ben a pneumatic drill to help with the pool. They ended up going skinny dipping. Mardy has received multiple drunken calls from Wayne after side effects from the test make Wayne grow breast. Larry’s charm works even on the elderly Ruth. Wayne and Ben bond over a husband and wife race, when Ben steps in as Wayne’s spouse. They win the race. 

   Mardy goes on the run, afraid that Wayne will come after him. Larry finds him and Mardy tells him the true story of the flasher and how the flasher forced him to drive around town, allowing him to flash everybody. Ben and Wayne go out to eat and Ben tells him about Meredith. Wayne gives him some dating advice. 

   Larry takes his dad to see Trey (Moses Storm). Because he is stressing and did not take his tablet of choice, Lorazepam, with him. Trey gives him something for his stress. Unfortunately, it is not for relaxing. Larry decides he will take one as well, in solidarity with his dad. 

     Ben tries to take Meredith to the prom because she missed it four years before, having gotten too drunk. They both are recognised by one of the organisers and are unable to enter the prom. Larry and Wayne are both high from whatever Trey gave them and are freaking out in his basement. Trey’s parents come back and chase them out of the house. 

    Larry seduces Ruth to get Ben out of his obligation and have her drop the charges. Wayne goes to see Mardy and convinces him to help him give his son another chance in New York with ISG. Mardy agrees to help and it works. Wayne goes to New York with him for the interview. 

     During the interview, Wayne is spooked by the virtual reality and ends up destroying the office. Ben is disillusioned by the attitude of Peter Francis (Kevin Nealon), the boss of ISG, who they only meet via visual reality. He leaves New York. Ben returns to his hometown and goes to see Meredith. He is staying and wants to be with her. 

    Mardy has a barbecue and invites everybody. Aiden calls him out in front of everybody, saying that Wayne probably let him win his fight. Mardy challenges Wayne to another fight. They crash into one another and hit the floor. The party carries on around them. The end. 

    Father of the Year is a silly film. It is pretty much exactly as you would expect it to be. Spade inhabits his normal slightly weasely, man-child character in Wayne. Faxon’s Mardy is such a coward that he displays none of the traits that one would attribute to the head of the house. 

    The relationship between Ben and Meredith is sweet and well written, with a script by Brandon Cournoyer and Tyler Spindel. Spindel also directs. At ninety-four minutes long, the film is not too long and bumps along at a good pace. The premise is pretty ludicrous but the energy of the actors allows it to work.

    Not laugh out loud funny, Father of the Year is, nonetheless, an amusing film and not the worse way to spend a lazy afternoon. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s