Director: Paul Weitz
Story By: Dana Stevens
Cast: Kevin Hart, Melody Hurd, DeWanda Wise, Alfre Woodard, Lil Rel Howery, Anthony Carrigan, & Deborah Ayorinde
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I was hesitant about watching this damn movie… I should’ve went with my gut because the film gave EXACTLY what I felt it would give.
Needless to say, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the overall product of this movie, and am surprised it is still in Netflix’s top 5 at the time of me writing this review.
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Below are my grades for key components in #Fatherhood that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), & Don’t Rush.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: D
Character Arc/Development: F
General Entertainment Factor: Don’t Watch
Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Don’t Watch
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1. Let me go ahead and get the first positive thing about this movie out the way—Kevin looked GOODT! That body was just tight! 😜😍
2. The story felt so outdated, slightly forced, and wasn’t cast well to me. What we have is a story about a supposedly immature, inconsiderate middle class husband with a pregnant wife who is literally discussed—never shown/proven/fully displayed—as someone unable to raise a child. It was very hard for me to believe that a GROWN ASS man…a GROWN ASS married man with a fully pregnant wife at that, WITH a career, is struggling to be responsible/a responsible parent. Seriously?
The first thought I had was, “No one suggested he get a nanny? HE didn’t think about a nanny?”
Then there was the genre messiness. Acts two and three were more consistent with the comedic drama feel due to the child actress participating in the plot, but Act one was really bad because it was if they were trying to find a way to lighten the seriousness of the main reason for this story’s existence—was it a drama or a comedy? Why are we joking about the main character’s reaction to someone he clearly cared about? 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
3. Another positive from the film was seeing Melody Hurd and Deborah Ayorinde, especially after seeing them in the Amazon Prime series ‘Them.’ 🙌🏾🙌🏾
4. Because of the outdated story, (and the lack of intentional editing, I might add), the messaging was not developed and executed well. It seems that one theme the film wanted to get across was around “men can step up and be great parents/single fathers…” or “People have the ability to change and mature for things we care about…”
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do a great job at showing Matt as someone who is just SO immature and inconsiderate of others—especially his own child. He had nothing to “step up” from. What I see more from this film is messaging around people working to get back to some since of life after grieving, but even this isn’t as executed well…but it’s developed and executed better than what the title and story attempts to give. 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
5. I started to enjoy Alfred Woodard in the second and third Acts. Her Act one… … she felt out of place. I had a moment where I wasn’t even impressed with her delivery of Marian. 🥴
6. Speaking of Marian, what was up with this other awkward ass side conflict/story this film tried to create between Matt and Marian. Clearly there were just too many damn ideas that no one at the table thought to trim down. 🤨🤦🏾♂️
7. The pacing… so unfortunate. Act one moved EXTREEEEEMELY slow for no major purpose. I did not need that much time dedicated to watching Matt do/deal with what all new parents deal with when it comes to having a newborn baby. WHERE was the focus on proving to us that he was so immature and incapable of taking care of another human being?
Acts 2 and 3 were “cute,” but didn’t have ANYTHING to do with developing Matt’s character. Instead, we get the development of a love story and learning more about Maddy navigating life as a “single child.”🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
8. A third positive, speaking of Maddy, was Melody Hurd’s storyline. I do think more could’ve been done, and the film should’ve focused on her navigating the world as an only daughter raised by a father. There was so much potential for the film with her story alone. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
9. Also, I enjoyed seeing DeWanda Wise ol’ beautiful self. She also understood her assignment—another well delivered performance. 🙌🏾🙌🏾
10. As mentioned with pacing, theme, and the story…character development was a miss. Matt doesn’t really grow from, learn from, or show any experience to anything. He just has a “sudden realization” that would’ve actually happened in the hospital after the first 12 minutes of the film.
I have no really connection, sympathy, proud moments, or tears of joy for Matt because he did what he was supposed to do which doesn’t make for a good story. The tensions put in place for Matt weren’t effective because they didn’t really feel like tension for the character because there wasn’t anything I was able to see Matt be so attached to that suddenly came across as him painfully struggling with “it” being pulled away from him. He had too many support systems + a career… nothing felt believable for his development. 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
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Overall, #Fatherhood is Big Daddy-meets the disconnection of Netflix’s Dad Stop Embarrassing Me-meets Daddy’s Little Girls-meets the premise of the 1989 film Those She Left Behind (and this wasn’t my first connection. I think there is a black movie from the 90s that has a similar premise as well, but I can’t remember the name).
As I typed this review, the thought that came across my mind was, “this is what a film by a narcissist who, in his own mind, thinks his life is so hard/such a struggle would look like…” This is possibly one the most mediocre, uneventful ass stories I’ve ever seen. I also couldn’t help that there was a hidden agenda with Kevin to still address and try to fix his past comments/jokes on sexuality.
For me, the potential in this film is with Melody Hurd’s character, and the film could’ve been much better had they focused on how a black daughter raised by a black father navigates the world, and then allowed the story and creativity to blossom from the starting point.