Movie Review: Like Father (2018)

Starring: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammar and Seth Rogen

Directed by: Lauren Miller Rogen

After being left at the altar for working too much and too hard, Rachel drunkenly decides to go on her honeymoon cruise but is joined by her estranged father who she hasn’t seen since she was 5 years old.

Netflix have become a juggernaut in producing movies over the last year or so as Netflix originals seems to just keep on coming. After watching Extinction over the weekend my focus now turns to Like Father, which if I had seen this movie during my teenage years I either wouldn’t have watched it or liked it. Back in those days I was very much a kid who liked everything macho; guns, explosions, fighting and everything of the sort but as I grow older my film taste has become a lot more inclusive and a touching story of sentiment and rekindling a bond between father and daughter just appeals to me on so many different levels now. Combine that with a fairly decent cast that is lead by Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammar, I was hoping to be in for a treat.

A lot of the negative reviews I have seen online all centre around the idea that Like Father pretty much was a 90 minute advertisement for Royal Caribbean. While this movie does act as an excellent marketing tool for the travel company I felt that the story was meaningful enough and the acting was good enough to make this movie extremely enjoyable in spite of the obvious marketing campaign. The story was deep and full of emotion which for anybody who has lost touch with a close family member, through separation as opposed to death, makes it easily relatable. Also I liked that the story went a completely different way from what both my wife and I were anticipating as we both predicted that the reason why Rachel’s father (Kelsey Grammar) has resurfaced was because he was dying and wanted to make amends before he passed away. This however wasn’t the case and the real reason why he has reached out held a lot more meaning. Throughout the journey it was really nice to see Rachel (Kristen Bell) and her father slowly make inroads into building the relationship they should’ve always had if it wasn’t for him leaving her and her mother to chase a career.

I thought Kristen Bell was fantastic as she surprisingly pulled off the “career driven bitch” incredibly well. Most of the movies I’ve seen her in she has been a sweet and charming character but in a role reversal she does a wonderful job as she holds nothing back when confronting her absent father and also was quite funny throughout too. She also shared fantastic on screen chemistry with her father, Kelsey Grammar, as they revelled in the highs and lows of relationship building. A large portion of the supporting cast were relatively unknown, with the exception of Seth Rogen but I’ll get to him later, and for the majority of the movie the supporting actors and actresses were great as they were able to help the story move along at a nice pace and offered a little comedy rest-bite from the emotional rollercoaster ride that Kristen Bell’s character found herself on.

One of my biggest problems with Like Father was towards the end of the movie, Rachel and her father were embracing together and everything about it felt very generic and cliche. I felt that a lot of hard work went into slowly building the bond between the pair and at the end the writers just got lazy and simply used every overused cliche in the book to make the ending feel somewhat unnatural and cheap. Also, Seth Rogen was cast in a very small role as Jeff, a guy who is on the cruise that Rachel meets and has a one night stand with. With both of them going through a tough time in life at the moment it was the relief and break from the reality of being left at the altar that Rachel needed. Seth Rogen’s character didn’t really feature as much as I thought he was going to which meant that his casting seemed somewhat strange. To cast such a big name actor for quite a small and irrelevant role seemed odd but it was only when realising that the director was his wife that it all kind of made sense and the line of “I’ve never smoked anything in my life before” seemed aptly written for a guy like Seth Rogen.

Overall, a great little movie that gets a lot more hate than it deserves. While it has its flaws, the great chemistry and acting from Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammar combined with a wonderfully empathetic story made Like Father a really good watch.

8/10

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