Starring: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, Seth Rogen
Director: Lauren Miller
Running Time: 98 mins
Like Father is an American film about a workaholic woman who, after being left at the altar, finds herself on a Caribbean cruise with her estranged father, where she learns to disconnect from the professional world.
While Like Father isn’t exactly the funniest film you’ll ever see, it’s a genuinely captivating and deep down very touching drama about family, self-growth and appreciating the best that life has to offer. With likable performances across the board and heartfelt themes, the film is a genuinely lovely watch.
In fact, it’s best that you don’t go into Like Father expecting big laughs from start to finish. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good jokes here, and it’s a fun watch alongside its rather dramatic story, but it’s that drama which really makes the film work so well.
But we’ll get onto that in a minute, because the biggest strength of the film comes in the form of its performances. Kristen Bell is a fantastic lead as a workaholic and closed-off young woman, while Kelsey Grammer is surprisingly likable as her estranged but still clearly caring father.
In fact, it’s not just leads Bell and Grammer who are great value in Like Father, as a number of the supporting players also play a big part in the film’s more fun-loving tendencies, as we see Kristen Bell’s character unwind from her workaholic lifestyle and let loose on a crazy Caribbean cruise.
That plays into the more fun parts of Like Father, showing that it’s a film that you can sit back and enjoy with your brain turned off. However, to really get the most out of the film, look past the surface comedy towards a genuinely touching story at the centre of it all.
Not only does the film follow Kristen Bell’s character rediscovering the best that life has to offer as she slowly begins to unlock from an intense, solely work-focused mindset, but her topsy-turvy relationship with her father also brings about some really lovely albeit equally challenging emotional depth.
The great thing about Like Father is that it doesn’t tell its story in an easy, nicely wrapped-up way, instead looking first at the complexities of the relationship between daughter and estranged father, and spending a good amount of time on following both characters’ development before bringing its story to an end.
That more patient approach means the film is certainly a little slower and more mellow than a generic Hollywood comedy, but it plays nicely with a story that’s really quite heartfelt, ultimately bringing an extra level of joy and depth to the film.
Overall, I rather liked Like Father. Though not a hilarious comedy by any means, it’s a fun film with a heartfelt story, and one that delivers genuine emotion alongside good comedic energy thanks to a collection of excellent performances. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2.