Father Figures (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 2-May-2018

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Deleted Scenes
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 112:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Lawrence Sher
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Owen Wilson
Ed Helms
Glenn Close
J.K. Simmons
Terry Bradshaw
Katt Williams
Ving Rhames
Christopher Walken
June Squibb
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Rob Simonsen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Cantonese
Chinese
Korean
Bulgarian
Croatian
Estonian
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Latvian
Lithuanian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Slovenian
Thai
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Helmed by veteran cinematographer but first-time director Lawrence Sher, Father Figures was actually filmed in 2015, but it took two years to finally see the light of day after test screenings and reshoots. Sher worked on several notable comedies as a director of photography, including the Hangover trilogy and The Dictator, and should therefore know a thing or two about comic tomfoolery, but Father Figures is not the right vehicle for his directorial debut. Despite an impressive ensemble cast and a polished technical presentation, there are virtually no laughs to glean throughout - even at its best, the flick is still barely chuckle-worthy. Moreover, itís difficult to shake the feeling that we have seen all of this before, and done better.

††† Fraternal twins Peter (Ed Helms) and Kyle (Owen Wilson) were raised by their mother, Helen (Glenn Close), to believe that their father died before they were born. When the pair reunite for Helenís wedding, Peter is a miserable divorcť with a teenage son who resents him, while Kyle is enjoying an affluent lifestyle as a BBQ sauce model. While watching an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Peter spots whom he believes to be his dad, based on an old photo. However, Helen reveals that she lied to the brothers about their father all their lives - due to her promiscuous past, she is unsure about who their father is, and only lied to protect them. Struck by the possibility that their father is alive, Peter and Kyle set out across the country to find their real dad, leading them to football legend Terry Bradshaw (playing himself) and shady criminal Roland Hunt (J.K. Simmons). While the brothers struggle to solve the issue of their paternity, they also (predictably) seek to repair their strained relationship.

††† The screenplay for Father Figures (originally titled B******s) is credited to Justin Malen, and it is only his second feature film credit after the likewise underwhelming Office Christmas Party. Itís clear that Sher and Malen aspired to create a vulgar R-rated comedy as well as a dramatic story about Peter and Kyle, who bond throughout the narrative and learn valuable lessons along the way. Creating this brand of dramedy is possible, but it requires a deft touch - see Last Vegas or 50/50. Alas, Father Figures lacks the talent to fulfil its ambitions, and the end result is an uneven, formulaic dramedy which is perpetually stuck in first gear. In addition, the apparent slut-shaming in regards to Helenís promiscuity is uncomfortable and unnecessary, lacking in tact. Admittedly, the reshot ending is probably the most successful portion of the movie, as it borders on poignancy and effectively ties the story together, but itís a case of too little too late. The rest of Father Figures is still too aggressively flat, emerging as a real missed opportunity.

††† As a director, Sher is no better or worse than most purveyors of these sorts of generic American comedies; although his sense of comedic timing is slipshod, Father Figures is still an attractive, adequately-assembled studio comedy, with a jaunty score by Rob Simonsen (Going in Style) to boot. It should come as no surprise given Sherís past experience, but the movieís visual style is above-average, standing in stark contrast against other modern comedies which often resemble sitcoms. However, Father Figures is much too long and flabby at nearly two hours, noticeably dragging during a subplot involving a hitchhiker (Katt Williams) that has no significant bearing on the narrative beyond some Peter/Kyle bonding time that could have been explored more economically. Furthermore, it was actually surprising for this reviewer to learn that the movie was rated R, as the material feels safe, lacking the profane punch that the rating can facilitate. It appears that Father Figures was originally designed as a PG-13 comedy.

††† Helms and Wilson rely on their usual shtick here, to the surprise of absolutely nobody. Helms is the straight man who plays life by the rules, while Wilson is a free spirit who encourages Peter to come out of his shell. Itís an all-too-familiar behavioural polarity situation, though at least the actors commit to the material adequately enough. In the supporting cast, Close appears to sleepwalk through her infrequent scenes, though J.K. Simmons and Ving Rhames manage to score a couple of minor laughs each. Christopher Walken also appears as a family friend, while Katt Williams can only do so much to liven the stale material. At the end of the day, itís hard to bring oneself to truly hate Father Figures since itís not offensive or aggressively terrible, but itís not an especially good movie either, and itís not essential viewing. This is one of those comedies that you might enjoy late at night whilst browsing Netflix in a non-discerning mood, though you will forget about it merely a few days later.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Technical information about Father Figures is surprisingly hard to come by, but it does appear that this mediocre comedy was captured digitally by veteran cinematographer John Lindley (Pleasantville, Mr. Brooks) - and, judging from both the behind-the-scenes footage as well as the film footage, it looks like Arri Alexa cameras were used. Making use of a dual-layered BD-50 (despite the noticeable lack of extras), Roadshow/Warner Bros. have thankfully mastered Father Figures on Blu-ray with an impressively high bitrate approaching 33 Mbps, which is all the more impressive given the movie's letterboxed 2.40:1 aspect ratio. I doubt this mediocre comedy was ever earmarked for a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray given its poor reception all-round and its status as a generic studio comedy, so fans of the movie can rejoice that this AVC-encoded, 1080p Blu-ray looks pretty d*** impressive on the whole, leaving little room for improvement.

††† From the beginning, the transfer impresses in every aspect. Clarity is sublime and colours are gorgeous, while fine detail is exceptional and the image looks razor-sharp - it often borders on demo material. Father Figures carries a bright, vibrant look, which ideally carries over to this Blu-ray. Upscaled on my 65" 4K television, it almost looks like a 4K Blu-ray, as the presentation holds up to close scrutiny. In close-ups of the actors, you can make out every last facial pore and wrinkle, to the point that you can even discern that they're wearing make-up. Helms's facial hair is also well resolved thanks to exceptional image sharpness. Clothing textures are likewise impressive, and fine detail remains impressive no matter the lighting conditions. Even in landscape wide shots, such as helicopter shots of the Floridian ocean, you can make out everything, from the tiniest waves to people on the beach. The encode even resolves a fine layer of source noise which only accentuates the textures on display, never spoiling the image in any way. Scenes set in rain reveal sharply-resolved raindrops on windows, maintaining excellent object delineation. Miraculously, I never felt that the transfer looked smooth or smeary, which can again be attributable to the generous video bitrate.

††† Father Figures looks rich and colourful, with deep contrast that never looks limited by the 1080p encode. Highlights, too, are top-notch for the most part. Greenery looks lush, the Floridian ocean looks invitingly blue, and skin tones are accurate. Blacks are also inky, resulting in terrific image depth. Furthermore, the competent encode never falls victim to anomalies or artefacts - there is no aliasing, banding, macroblocking, or black crush. Perhaps High Dynamic Range could have allowed for a transfer that's slightly more balanced, and shadow detail could stand to be slightly improved (the scene in the car at the one-hour mark could stand to have better textures), but those are the only shortcomings of a predominantly excellent Blu-ray transfer. In short, this is exactly the type of presentation one would expect from a Blu-ray, and if this is what Roadshow/Warner Bros. are capable of with high bitrates, I hope we get to see more in the future. Father Figures might be a flawed movie, but it looks d*** good on Blu-ray.

††† A generous selection of subtitle options are included. I sampled the English track, and had no issues with it.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Father Figures comes to Blu-ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix (48kHz, 24-bit), which is presumably faithful to how it was originally mixed. For those interested, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also included in Hungarian, Polish and Russian, but I only sampled the primary English mix for the purposes of this review. Naturally, audiophiles may bemoan the lack of an Atmos mix, but the 5.1 track is perfectly sufficient given the source, and bearing in mind that the movie never exactly lends itself to moments that would show off the advantages of Atmos in the first place.

††† Though the audio is not exactly demo-worthy, the broad strokes are effective. This is a clean, crisp, pristine lossless mix free of any encoding anomalies like pops, clicks, drop-outs or sync issues. Nor does the audio sound in any way muffled or held back. Dialogue is perpetually easy to hear and comprehend, not to mention the track is well-prioritised from top to bottom. The subwoofer is scarcely used throughout, only accentuating a few gunshots and the sounds of a train, among certain other moments. Surround activity is perfunctory, only noticeably offering music and ambience, with rare instances of panning or precise placement - but then again, the occasion seldom calls for it. Without emerging as a reference-quality track, Father Figures sounds just fine on Blu-ray.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† Perhaps unsurprisingly given the poor box office, there are barely any extras on this disc. For those interested, there is behind-the-scenes material available on YouTube. Also, it's a minor victory but at least Roadshow chose not to use the movie's truly appalling, lazy theatrical poster as the Blu-ray's cover art.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 21:09)

††† For those of you with the patience of a saint, here's 21 minutes of deleted material, amounting to ten scenes that are not individually selectable. It's easy to see why these scenes were excised, as they don't add much to an already flabby movie. There are actually more scenes with Close, cutting back to her as Helen receiving updates about the boys' road trip - while watching the movie, I actually wondered why we never got any scenes like this, as Close disappears throughout the majority of the flick. Unfortunately, the original ending is not included, which feels like a missed opportunity given that Bill Irwin's scenes will now (presumably) never see the light of day.

Gag Reel (HD; 4:26)

††† The obligatory gag reel. This is not as hilarious as one might hope, but there are some mildly amusing outtakes, particularly with Simmons.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † In terms of extras, all editions worldwide are identical. Language options do differ depending on region, though. It's a draw.

Summary

††† I didn't hate Father Figures, but I was certainly underwhelmed by it. Generic and predominantly laughless, it's easy to see why this one landed with a resounding thud, flopping at the box office and earning bad reviews. With a cast like this, we deserve better.

††† Roadshow's Blu-ray features an excellent video and audio presentation, much better than the movie itself deserves. It's certainly interesting to see what Roadshow is capable of when the video presentation is not unnecessarily compressed. Extras, however, are virtually non-existent. This is a rental at best.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, July 07, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
They invented the word "meh" for movies like this -