Father Figures is a comedy but works more like a dramedy that has few laughs and takes itself too seriously much of the time. The cast is top-notch, and they all deliver well on their roles, but the script itself seems more of a paint-by-numbers story that has heart but lacks much else.
Owen Wilson and Ed Holmes are estranged twin brothers Kyle and Peter who meet up at their mother Helen’s (Glenn Close) wedding. While there, Peter believes he has discovered the identity of the father they never met. That is when Helen tells them she lied about their father all along and then reveals that she wasn’t sure who their dad was, but it might have been Pittsburgh Steelers’ legendary quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
That proclamation leads the brothers on a hunt to finally meet their father, but they then realize that the journey will lead them to multiple options after realizing Bradshaw was not their dad.
When it comes to the comedy in this movie, it is very awkward. Much of the humor is low-brow and seems thrown in just to force some laughs into an otherwise dramatic tale. Things like Peter’s work as a proctologist and Kyle’s laidback persona after getting rich by earning the sponsorship with a barbeque sauce company are character building in the smallest sense of the word. The fact that Peter hates his job and his life and Kyle might be losing his job are just obstacles the script puts in their place instead of natural progressions of the characters.
There are some funny moments, such as Terry Bradshaw’s performance and the morning after a one-night stand, but very unfunny moments such as Kyle being asked to pee on a child in a public restroom as punishment to the child offset them. It seemed like a scene added in just to add a cheap laugh and failed miserably.
However, where the movie succeeded was in delving into the story of two brothers who don’t understand each other but grow to love one another again. There is a lot of heart here when it comes to Peter finally finding himself and Kyle helping him to understand that they can both be happy if they just stop and appreciate what the universe gives them. Of course, there is the moment Kyle loses his mojo, but that is only a part of this type of story.
At the end of their journey, Father Figures goes in a very different direction than expected and has a heartfelt ending, proving that the idea behind the movie was much, much better than the final film itself. However, there is also a final scene that downplays the improvement that Peter made in his life, but the pivotal scene where the boys learn the truth about their father is one that is touching and heartbreaking, almost redeeming an otherwise forgettable movie.