Movie Review: “Like Father” has little to like


Alex Dembeck

Rachel (Kristen Bell) and Harry (Kelsey Grammer) Hamilton sit in front of Rachel’s apartment, about to embark on their Caribbean cruise together.

by Alex Dembeck, Reporter

In Like Father (rated TV-MA), another stereotypical, and, unfortunately humorless, romantic comedy, Rachel Hamilton’s (Kristen Bell) workaholic tendencies leave her alone at the altar by her fiance Owen (Jon Foster). As she flees from the ceremony, she catches a glimpse of her father, Harry (Kelsey Grammer), who she hasn’t seen in 26 years.

No surprise that, long-lost dad, Harry, shows up at Rachel’s door the next evening and asks to buy her a drink. After a night of rather poor decisions, an inebriated Rachel decides to take her estranged father with her on her honeymoon. As the formulaic story line unfolds, Rachel spends the first 50 minutes resenting her father, but slowly, warms up to him. Other than one small plot twist, Like Father follows the plot of every romantic movie, and Rachel and her dad rekindle their relationship.

While on the Caribbean cruise, Rachel doesn’t do much other than talk on the phone, send emails, and complain about her ex, making her very unlikable. Her father, on the other hand, tries to get Rachel to end her obsessive habits and enjoy herself with other couples on the cruise.

One of the only times Rachel sets down her phone is when she meets Jeff (Seth Rogen), a recently divorced teacher from Canada. Jeff’s character feels very forced and rather awkward in the story line, but what’s a rom-com without overly-awkward romantic relationships?

On the trip, Harry finds an unconventional way to stop Rachel’s addiction to her phone, and, in the serene and peaceful Jamaican forests, the two tearfully bury the hatchet and make up, but with 50 minutes left, the movie isn’t over yet.

Harry and Rachel dress in flashy, sequin-covered costumes and prepare to star in the ship’s karaoke night. Before the pair can perform, Rachel gets a call from her boss saying that her father is bankrupt. The explanation, of course, is another plot point that feels contrived.

Father and daughter heal their relationship and perform in the karaoke contest. 

With an extremely talented cast and the idea for an emotional story (a girl reunited with her father), Like Father had the opportunity to go against multiple stereotypes. Instead of taking advantage of this, the story line was poorly executed.

The majority of critics also agree that the movie had the chance to be great, but didn’t take it. Like Father has received a 49% from Rotten Tomatoes. Critics gave the movie a 5.2/10 and viewers gave the movie a 3.1/5 (6.2/10). Personally, I feel the movie deserved a 4/10 for the lack of originality and comedic relief.

In an article for The Atlantic, reporter and critic Sophie Gilbert said, “All the structural elements of the genre are present: a madcap premise involving two people who get drunk and accidentally wake up on a cruise, a wedding flameout, an extravagant set piece involving karaoke, sequins, and Styx.”

This, combined with the fact that the two are constantly confused for a married couple and are forced to share a one-bedroom suite, makes the father-daughter relationship highly uncomfortable. The countless jokes about the two being a married couple quickly grow old and only add to the distasteful relationship between Rachel and Harry. 

In addition, other than one or two meager jokes, the only thing that truly was humorous about the film was the makeup. The actors, especially Grammer, were exceptionally orange with bright white teeth, which is rather distracting.

Like Father is a painfully stereotypical movie. Given the chance to make a heartfelt rom com with loveable and rather comic actors and actresses, the directors lacked on execution. The final product could’ve been much better.