Father Figures (known as Who's Your Daddy? in the United Kingdom) is a 2017 American comedy film directed by Lawrence Sher (in his directorial debut), written by Justin Malen, and starring Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J. K. Simmons, Katt Williams, Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames, Harry Shearer, June Squibb, Christopher Walken, and Glenn Close. The film follows two adult brothers who set out to find their biological father.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lawrence Sher|
|Written by||Justin Malen|
|Music by||Rob Simonsen|
|Edited by||Dana E. Glauberman|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Box office||$25.6 million|
Principal photography began on October 5, 2015, in Atlanta, and the film was released in the United States on December 22, 2017, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was poorly received by critics, who called it devoid of "energy or purpose" and grossed $25 million against its $25 million budget.
Kyle (Owen Wilson) and Peter Reynolds (Ed Helms) are fraternal twins who were raised by their mother Helen (Glenn Close) as their father died before they were born. Kyle is dating his pregnant girlfriend Kaylani (Jessica Gomes) and is wealthy from royalties for his image on BBQ sauce labels. Peter is a divorced proctologist with a teenage son (Zachary Haven) who resents him.
Shortly after Helen's wedding to Gene (Harry Shearer), Peter recognizes an actor on Law and Order: SVU from photos of his supposed father and confronts Helen. Helen explains that she had been promiscuous at the time of their conception, and did not want their father involved. When they keep pressing, Helen reveals that their father is Terry Bradshaw.
The brothers fly to Florida to meet Bradshaw, who they encounter at a signing event. Bradshaw is excited to have them as sons. As Bradshaw recounts stories with former teammate Rod Hamilton (Ving Rhames), the brothers realize that Bradshaw had been in Australia at the time of their conception, and thus isn't their father. Bradshaw points out that Roland Hunt, a New York investor, also dated Helen.
As they travel north, Kyle finds that his BBQ sauce royalties deal is ending. Arriving at what they assumed was Hunt's office, they find a boarded-up house. Hunt (J.K. Simmons) confronts them at gunpoint until they reveal why they were looking for him. He invites them inside, but expresses his dissatisfaction at having children in front of his mother (June Squibb). As the brothers prepare to depart, they offer to help their father with his repossession service. As Hunt breaks into a Ferrari, it becomes clear that he is a criminal. As the brothers argue with the owners of the Ferrari, Hunt flees only to feel remorse for abandoning his sons. The brothers steal the Ferrari and hit Hunt who was returning to them. At the hospital, the brothers find that they are incompatible to give Hunt blood, indicating that he cannot be their father. Hunt realizes that he was in prison at the time of their conception, but directs them to find Sparkly P, another of Helen's ex-boyfriends.
Unable to find Sparkly P, the brothers start driving for home. Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker (Katt Williams), who provides advice as they travel. After accidentally parking on railroad tracks, Peter and the hitchhiker narrowly escape getting hit by a train, while Kyle is stuck in the car and presumably killed. Initially devastated, Peter is surprised to see Kyle walk away from the car, only to be punched by Kyle for abandoning him. As they are being treated, police officers recognize the name Sparkly P as the nickname of Patrick O'Callaghan (Jack McGee), a former police officer. The brothers stop at a hotel, where Peter meets and seduces Sarah (Katie Aselton).
The brothers arrive at Patrick O'Callaghan's house in time for his wake. Patrick's daughter is invited to speak, and Peter realizes that it is Sarah, his possible half-sister. Disgusted, Peter runs out of the wake. Patrick's twin brother Kevin (Jack McGee) explains that Patrick could not be the father as he had been celibate during that period. Though Kevin directs them to another of Helen's ex-boyfriends, Dr. Walter Tinkler (Christopher Walken), who is a family friend and veterinarian in their home town.
Kyle and Peter confront Dr. Tinkler. After being called down, Helen arrives and reveals that she is not their biological mother. She and Tinkler had been working at a shelter when a young woman came in and gave birth. The woman died during childbirth, and Helen chose to adopt Kyle and Peter instead of having them separated by adoption and Helen also reveals she never knew their father at all. The brothers are happy to have learned their history.
A year later, Kyle, Peter, and Helen are on vacation in Maui. Peter is now dating Sarah and his son respects him. Kyle and Kaylani have twin daughters. The brothers have gone into business together and created an app that provides advice from the universe spoken by the hitchhiker.
- Owen Wilson as Kyle Reynolds, Peter's brother. A laid-back model who made millions by selling his image to a BBQ sauce company, he is resented by Peter for his life being so easy.
- Ed Helms as Peter Reynolds, Kyle's brother and a proctologist. He is divorced and facing a mid-life crisis because his teenage son, Ethan, hates him. Having never known his own father, Peter is unsure of how to deal with his son, inspiring him to attempt to find his biological father.
- J. K. Simmons as Roland Hunt, a former financial investor, reclusive criminal, and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
- Katt Williams as a hitchhiker who Kyle and Peter meet on their journey.
- Terry Bradshaw as himself, a retired football player and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
- Ving Rhames as Rod Hamilton, a friend and ex-teammate of football player Bradshaw.
- Harry Shearer as Gene, Helen's new husband.
- June Squibb as Mrs. Hunt, Roland Hunt's mother.
- Christopher Walken as Dr. Walter Tinkler, a veterinarian and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
- Glenn Close as Helen Baxter, Kyle and Peter's eccentric mother who is revealed to have been heavily sexually active in the mid 1970s, and appears not to know who the twins' biological father is.
- Jack McGee as Patrick O'Callaghan, a police officer, the father of Sarah, and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter who was dead before Kyle and Peter arrived.
- Jack McGee also portrays Kevin O'Callaghan, Patrick's twin brother and the uncle of Sarah.
- Ryan Cartwright as Liam O'Callaghan, one of Patrick's sons.
- Ryan Gaul as Sean O'Callaghan, one of Patrick's sons.
- Ali Wong as Ali, Dr. Tinkler's nurse.
- Retta as Annie, Helen and Gene's wedding planner.
- Jessica Gomes as Kaylani, Kyle's girlfriend
- Katie Aselton as Sarah O’Callaghan, the daughter of Patrick, niece of Kevin, and brother of Kevin and Liam.
- Debra Stipe as Karen Bradshaw
- Zachary Haven as Ethan, Peter's teenage son who hates him.
- Robert Walker Branchaud and B'nard Lewis as police officers who direct Kyle and Peter to where Patrick lives.
On June 14, 2011, it was announced that Paramount Pictures had acquired the rights to the comedy spec script Bastards, written by Justin Malen. The story is about two brothers who learn their father did not die when they were young. The Montecito Picture Company was set to produce the film, and on August 7, 2014, Alcon Entertainment also came on board to produce and finance the film, for Warner Bros., after Paramount left the project and the script went into turnaround. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher was attached to make his directorial debut, and Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollock, and Ali Bell produced the film through Montecito.
Jason Sudeikis was originally attached to star. On July 15, 2015, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms were cast to play the brothers, while Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove were also set to produce the film, through Alcon. J. K. Simmons and Terry Bradshaw also joined the cast on August 13, 2015, to play the lead characters' potential biological fathers, with Bradshaw playing himself. On August 18, 2015, Ving Rhames signed on to play Rod Hamilton, a friend and ex-teammate of football player Bradshaw. On September 11, 2015, Katt Williams joined the cast, on September 17, 2015, Glenn Close was in final negotiations to join the film, and on October 7, 2015, Katie Aselton was also in final talks to sign on. On October 22, 2015, Zachary Haven also joined the cast.
After poor test screenings, the film's initial ending was reshot to make it funnier and more consistent with the rest of the film. The reshoots took place in Rutledge, Georgia in April 2017. Despite high scores from test audiences after the reshoots (which also removed Bill Irwin from the film as Doctor Tinkler and replaced him with Christopher Walken), the film still received negative reviews from critics and audiences upon its release.
Father Figures was originally scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. on November 4, 2016; it was later changed to January 27, 2017. In January 2017, weeks before the film's planned release, the film was removed from the schedule. It was later moved again to December 22, 2017.
On September 15, 2017, the film was renamed from Bastards to Father Figures. The title was changed because television advertisers would not play ads for the film with profanity in the title, as well as so that posters could be displayed in movie theaters.
Father Figures grossed $17.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $8.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $25.6 million.
In the United States and Canada, Father Figures was released alongside the openings of Downsizing and Pitch Perfect 3, and the wide expansions of The Shape of Water and Darkest Hour, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,902 theaters in its opening weekend. It grossed $1.4 million on its first day and $3.2 million over the three-day weekend, finishing 9th at the box office. When factoring in inflation, it was the sixth-worst opening of all-time for a film playing in at least 2,500 theaters. Deadline Hollywood attributed the film's weak performance to audiences' diminished interest in R-rated comedies, the "been there, done that" plot line, and the possibility of outdated jokes, because the film was shot in 2015. The next weekend, the film grossed $3.8 million (an increase of 16%), finishing 10th.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 17% based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Success has many fathers, but failure is Father Figures". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 22 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale, while social media monitor RelishMix noted online responses to the film were "leaning toward the negative".
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