At the halfway point of Like Father, Seth Rogen, who is essentially just a recognisable cameo, blurts out that he does not smoke weed. I guess this was meant to be funny because everyone on the planet understands that he is baked most of the time. Putting aside the ineffectiveness of this line, this joke was the first time in the Netflix film where I at least felt something.
Like Father bases itself on workaholic Rachel Hamilton (Kristen Bell), who during her wedding cannot get off her phone due to work commitments, which drives her fiancé nearly to tears. He awkwardly ends the ceremony before the two can tie the knot. At the back of the wedding venue, her father (Kelsey Grammer) who abandoned her years ago is seen trying to sneak out, much to the surprise of Rachel. She decides to go drinking with him, which leads them both to go on a cruise holiday, which was meant to be her romantic honeymoon getaway.
The Netflix film centres itself on a father-daughter relationship that needs repairing on a cruise ship, an environment which is difficult to escape. It’s worth noting that her father decided to leave the family due to work commitments, which is where the title Like Father comes from. The movie relies on the schmaltzy feeling that despite years of daddy issues, barely anything separates their traits. Their habits glow through almost identically throughout the movie.
The premise has all the bearings of a feel-good family comedy, however, here’s where the problem lies. Taking away nothing from Kristen Bell’s career, unfortunately, she does too well to represent a workaholic who is miserable because she has just been dumped and is forced to reconnect with her father. Watching a lead character spend most of the time looking at her phone and depressingly snark at any fun suggestion the cruise throws at her is not a good time. Due to the lack of positivity and interest in Rachel, the amusing moments fall flat.
Like Father reminded me of those times when I was on a night out and there is always that one miserable friend who sips one drink and complains the entire evening. I have enough depressing people in my average life without having it forced on to me in the medium of film. The character Rachel is boring and offers the audience no reason to emotionally engage with her, which defeats the point of the film. Kelsey Grammer, for all his talents, cannot save this. The six-time Emmy Award winner uses the script well, but that’s his DNA and to be expected. Rachel does have an outburst of emotion in the final act, which was too late; I was already bored and even then, she suppresses it immediately.
When all the predictability arises, with the father-daughter dynamic heading to a close with the aid of their cruise friends, you feel a little flat. Like Father has the right messages, but by the end of the movie, you will hate everyone who is too attached to their smartphone.