Like Father - Review
The newest Netflix Original movie is much better than the last one. But the films couldn't be more different. Like Father is a character piece - and a commercial for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines at the same time. The end game is predictable, but the journeys that both of the characters go on are satisfactory.
There will be small spoilers throughout.
The movie hits the ground running. Within the first 10 minutes, the movie establishes Kristen Bell's Rachel as a workaholic. It also streamlines her broken relationship with both her fiance who dumps her at the alter, and her estranged father Harry, played by Kelsey Grammer. Next thing you know, they are on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas - the largest cruise ship in the world - and they can finally make progress with their relationship.
The cast certainly elevates the film here. Grammer gives a more emotional performance than I thought he was capable of. You feel that he has actually lived the life we are told he has lived.
Like Father has a lot of the common "cruise ship movie" tropes. The wacky, cliched dining mates who become friends. The "couple but not really a couple" getting thrown into awkward situations on the ship happens too. Rachel also has a fling with Seth Rogen. It is all predictable. Their relationship ebbs and flows as you would expect.
Rogen actually gives a fine performance too. He isn't in it that much, his talents are actually squandered. But he has the best joke in the movie, and it feels like he was cast just to be able to make that joke. Rogen's wife, Lauren Miller, actually wrote and directed the flick, so that makes the joke even funnier!
There are a ton of montages in the movie. But as someone who has been on a cruise ship similar to the one they filmed on, you can tell that most of the cruise ship scenes were authentic.
One of the most important characters in the film is never seen. Gabe, Harry's business partner, is the driving force of the movie. It is humorous that someone associated with Grammer is never seen or heard. In Cheers, where Grammer's Dr. Frasier Crane debuted, his friend Norm had a wife named Vera that would drive some plots, but was never seen. Then in Frasier, Frasier's brother Niles had a wife named Maris who was never seen either. I feel that this is a referenced to that. But in Miller's defense, Gabe served his purpose. He didn't have to be seen.
The "Gabe angle" was what elevated this father/daughter relationship movie above the others. Harry used Gabe as surrogate to right some wrongs in his life. Then actually went to right some wrongs, by showing up to his daughter's wedding.
Like Father is a perfectly pleasant watch. It isn't life changing. Well, I shouldn't say that. If you are a parent and are estranged from your kid, or vice versa, maybe it will encourage you to reach out. Movies are powerful that way. But if you like watching movies about mending relationships, then you will get a kick out of Like Father.
Like Father is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.
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