Starring: Steve Coogan, Paul Rudd, Alison PillDirector: Andrew Fleming
Running Time: 91 mins
Ideal Home is an American film about a gay couple who are unexpectedly burdened with looking after a young boy, but with no experience of parenting whatsoever.
Far from the best comedy-drama you’ll ever see, Ideal Home takes a predictable premise and tells it in predictable fashion, often worsened by middling humour and shallow drama.
Saying that, however, it’s a film that gets better as it goes on, sparking a laugh or two here and there, and even breaking ground with some genuinely heartwarming emotion, however brief it may be.
Now, we’ve seen countless films that bring together children from troubled homes and adults inexperienced in parenting, and it’s a premise that often throws up a great balance of laughs and emotion, looking at a clash of character because of the generation gap, as well as the growing up needed on the side of an adult to be able to fully take care of someone.
From the excellent Instant Family to The Fundamentals Of Caring (which also starred Paul Rudd), it’s a premise that can work really well, and that’s what makes Ideal Home even more disappointing at times, as it falls short in its attempts to capture both heartwarming emotional drama and properly funny comedy.
The biggest problem with Ideal Home is that, from the start, it’s just not funny enough. There’s less focus on developing more intimate drama early on, as the film is trying to establish the charismatic duo of Steve Coogan and Paul Rudd and their lavish lifestyle. But the comedy is predictable, juvenile and often irritatingly shrill, never getting the movie off to the laughter-filled start it’s aiming for.
As a result, the film is far from a hilarious watch, and it requires a little break from that brand of humour at the beginning of the second act for things to settle down. There, the film begins its development of the core emotional relationship, between a troubled young boy and two fairly irresponsible adults, and although it follows a very predictable path, it’s surprisingly likable at times, even striking a few moments of heartwarming drama here and there.
The film then bounces back to a more comedy-driven screenplay, and then back to the drama. This continues for the rest of the film as the movie bounces between tones in rather clumsy and directionless fashion, never really grabbing you or getting to grips with what it actually is.
As a result, Ideal Home turns out as a comedy-drama that’s sometimes a full-blown comedy, and at other times a full-blown drama, but never an effective or captivating blend of both. It’s never quite as funny as it aims to be, although it sparks a few laughs from time to time, and it doesn’t have the emotional depth to prove fully riveting, even though it’s surprisingly likable and heartwarming in brief bursts. So, that’s why I’m giving Ideal Home a 6.7 overall.