Trapped in a cruise ship is as limiting as it sounds, but by keeping the relationship fresh and unpredictable, Like Father deserves a certain level of waiver purely for its acknowledgement of what it’s doing well
Unless a film is deemed a romantic comedy by its creators, critics, and the public, a keen scrutinising eye is used to judge every pixel of the on screen action. Like Father is certainly not a rom-com with its father-daughter relationship taking up all of the screen time, but in this instance it should be treated as one, because this is a film with a well meaning heart and thirst for fun.
Rachel (Kristen Bell) reaches her own wedding late, delaying the ceremony for a routine work phone call. Astonished by her actions, soon to be husband Owen escapes the church, leaving Rachel and her obsession for the working life behind him. Suddenly realising how alone she is in the world, Rachel is approached by her estranged father, Harry (Kelsey Grammar) in the aftermath; A man she hasn’t heard from for 26 years.
Like Father has incredibly good intentions. Much of the film is situated on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean jumping from lagoon to dinner party instantaneously. This constant change of scenery, without wavering from Rachel and Harry’s reunion, offers a meandering but constantly updating story. Their relationship is then allowed to take centre stage, becoming the film’s sole take away. Though limiting its output, this puts Like Father in territory few films succeed with, presenting itself as a worthwhile relationship drama.
Rarely do comedies offer nothing but jokes, because it simply doesn’t match up to the needs of a modern audience. Like Father manages to realise the opposite, being particularly light on jokes, but pulls out excellent performances and a story full of inordinate charm.
The bond between Grammar and Bell is thoroughly enjoyable to watch, offering emotional importance to a truly encapsulating story, despite its obvious deficiencies. Trapped in a cruise ship is as limiting as it sounds, but by keeping the relationship fresh and unpredictable, Like Father deserves a certain level of waiver purely for its acknowledgement of what it’s doing well and for holding onto a keen sense of self worth.
It often feels cheap and average, with a very limited sense of humour, but Like Father is a relationship drama above all else. And that relationship, acted and scripted so well, becomes a joy to watch and seems a real thrill to be a part of. The film is essentially nothing special, but its core components are truly fascinating.
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