Custom Search





Daddy’s Home • Alvin & The

Chipmunks: The Road Chip

December 17, 2015

Daddy’s Home (***) PG-13

I’m not a Will Ferrell fan. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say, I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell’s output as an actor. There I’ve said it. It’s out there and it can’t be taken back. Of course, this isn’t going to come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed my reviews over the course of the last five years as practically every film featuring the former SNL alum in a starring role has received a negative word from yours truly.

To be clear, it’s not that Ferrell doesn’t have a modicum of talent. He’s fine when placed into the hands of a competent filmmaker/screenwriter, as evidenced by his terrific turn in the 2006 film, Stranger Than Fiction.  He was a revelation in that film, revealing layers of depth that I didn’t know he was capable of and rarely hitting those kind of career highs since.

Instead, Ferrell too often allows himself to be guided by his filmmaking partner in crime, Adam McKay, and the results are usually a mixed bag at best. At worst, as seen in the Anchorman films, Ferrell allows himself to coast every ten minutes or so on the good will engendered by one good joke.

Will Farrell in Daddy’s Home

A good joke that is typically sandwiched in between multiple gags that are best classified as misfires.

That’s why it was such a surprise to see Ferrell coming across as effectively as he does in his latest comedic offering, Daddy’s Home. Of course it helps that the film contains the stunt premise of having him paired onscreen with Mark Wahlberg as a stepdad (Ferrell) vying for the affection of his stepchildren while also engaging in a battle of wills with the stepkids’ biological father (Wahlberg).

What’s surprising is how much of the film works. Perhaps my expectations were on the extreme low end of things but I couldn’t help but notice how much I actually laughed during the film. There are some genuinely funny moments here and the sentimental stuff isn’t as hard to take as one might expect in a film like this either, something that certainly helps matters immeasurably. 

As one might determine, the plot deals, albeit humorously, with the problems inherent in entering into a ready-made family. Wahlberg and Ferrell seem to have a nice chemistry going on and there’s ample slapstick doings that really hit the mark from to time.

It’s nice to see Ferrell play a character that seems to have genuine concern for someone other than himself. If this is a sign of a new direction for Ferrell as an actor then I’m curious to see what happens next.

Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip (** ½) PG

If memory serves, and bear in mind that it’s been three years, in my review of the last cinematic Chipmunks opus, I recall making a call for a fashionable demise of the infernal rodents of the film’s title. The setting of that film was on a cruise ship—the film’s subtitle, after all, was Chipwrecked—and there’s a scene where those Chipmunks are stuck on a dance floor in said sea vessel. I lamented the fact that the filmmakers didn’t throw in a scene wherein Alvin, Simon or Theodore weren’t stomped on during this scene. This would have been an event that would have given adults, like myself, attempting to please their offspring by attending the film, a respite from the trite events onscreen.

The filmmaking team behind the latest Chipmunks outing must have heard my pleas at some point because there’s more than one scene in this latest movie where Alvin and company are put in physical danger in a non-pc fashion.  Perhaps that’s why I actually found myself laughing aloud on more than one occasion during what I assumed would be the worst moviegoing experience of the 2015 movie calendar.

Truth be told, it’s really saying something that I actually enjoyed this latest Chipmunks more than a number of films I’ve seen this year.

Scene from The Road Chip

In fact, there’s actually one critical darling I’ve reviewed in the pages of FOCUS, a film that will go unnamed here, which is likely to get an Oscar nod and would place below The Road Chip in terms of that film’s merits.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. The Road Chip isn’t going to earn a place on any year’s best list but you have to give credit to any mainstream ‘family’ film that gives a cameo to cult filmmaker John Waters and references his trash classic, Pink Flamingos. If only those in the audience I was with knew what that aforementioned  film was really all about I seriously doubt they would have been laughing as hard as they were.

In the previous Chipmunks films, comedian David Cross served as the villain. He’s noticeably MIA here but has been replaced by Tony Hale as Scruggs, an ATF agent trailing the rascally rodents after they create an incident on an airplane.

The plot concerns Alvin and his pals attempting to thwart what they believe to be the impending nuptials of their manager, David Seville (Jason Lee).  Slapstick shenanigans ensue and the ratio of gags that work is actually higher here than in just about any of the other films. This is about as inspired as it gets for a Chipmunks film, and  I guess that’s about the most that one might hope to find if forced to endure yet another Alvin and the Chipmunks film.

Both of these movies are playing at the Carmike in Hickory, and other area theaters.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.



In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn


‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before


Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck


Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows




Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3


Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie


Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar




The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy


Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier



The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now



The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies




BannerEventAd-01.jpg   fanjoylabrenz.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2018 Tucker Productions, Inc.