Father Of The Year: Join The Army Today, A Propaganda Film

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two young men try to find out which of their fathers would win in a fight.

Yes, this is lowest common denominator stuff, it is a post-Netflix deal Happy Madison production after all. However, unlike some of the more Sandler centric fare I found myself laughing.

I think a big part of this is due to David Spade who does a good job here, he is the right amount of stupid, annoying and endearing to create a character that works across multiple levels as the film progresses. In the beginning there is something funny about watching him fall naked out of a truck pool into the street, at this point you are decidedly laughing at him not with him, and then as the film progresses you find yourself warming to his stupid brand of comedy and by the end you actually like him, or at least I did. There is a whole audience/character journey there.

I thought the relationship herein were sweet and gave the film a nice sentimental edge that makes up for some of the more mean spirited gags. I thought the father son relationship between Ben, Joey Bragg, and Spade’s father character was actually quite well done and heart-warming over the course of the film. I also thought Ben’s relationship with Meredith, Bridgit Mendler, was sweet. Mendler has a lot of fun when she is on-screen and often ends up stealing the scene, however it would have been nice if the film had given her more to do beyond just being Ben’s love interest.

Furthermore, this film has a weird fascination with the American Armed Forces that I didn’t care for, this is not just a little aside but instead becomes a whole B plot. It feels at best like a paid advert at worst like propaganda. Stop trying to condition people to join the army. Moreover, and this might just be my interpretation, but have you ever noticed in how a lot of Sandler related films he casts his real life wife in negative roles. Yes, if you watch a lot of these films she is usually given the domineering, mean or controlling roles, just look at her character here, a wife who treats her husband awfully until the moment he swears at her kid. I won’t make any comments on this trend, but I will ask this, is Sandler and Co trying to tell us something here?

Overall, at times a funny and endearing film however some of the more overt themes drag it down.

Pros

Spade

The jokes

The relationships

Cons.

The army propaganda

The female characterisation

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