Old Dads Review:
In the 21st century, Bill Burr has been a familiar face in the world of comedy, known for his sharp wit and unapologetic takes on various subjects. Now, he’s ventured into the world of filmmaking with his directorial debut, “Old Dads.” In this blog post, we’ll dive into the essence of the film, exploring the themes of generational differences, fatherhood, and the challenges of adapting to an ever-evolving world.
The Allure of Immaturity
Burr has spent a significant portion of his career highlighting the journey from immaturity to responsibility in his films. “Knocked Up” and “This is 40” are prime examples of his exploration of overgrown juveniles coming to terms with adulthood. The protagonists in these films, portrayed by the likes of Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, grapple with the need to shed their vestiges of immaturity to provide for their loved ones.
In “Old Dads,” we are introduced to Jack (played by Bill Burr), Connor (Bobby Cannavale), and Mike (Bokeem Woodbine). These middle-aged men, co-founders of a throwback jersey retailer, reminisce about the ‘golden age’ when they could get away with anything. However, their world is upended when their company is sold to a millennial CEO, Aspen Bell, who introduces cancel culture to their lives. The film explores how these ‘old dads’ must adapt to a changing world or face a bleak future.
Burr’s comedic power lies in his knack for portraying prickly, unfiltered characters. In “Old Dads,” he embodies a character who is far from politically correct. Jack’s discontent with the present stems from what he sees as an overly sensitive society, obsessed with safe spaces and social justice. He longs for the days when he could speak and act freely without fear of backlash. His outburst at his son’s preschool, where he’s labeled ‘late’ for being just two minutes behind, sets the tone for the clash of values in the film.
This clash between old-school masculinity and the new-age expectations of parenting forms the backbone of the narrative. Jack isn’t the stereotypical caveman who expects his wife to handle all parenting duties. Instead, his frustration lies in the increasingly controlled and ‘woke’ world that has little room for his brand of humor and spontaneity.
A Journey with Friends
Jack is not alone in his struggles. His friends, Connor and Mike, are experiencing their versions of midlife crises. Connor, insecure about his fading youth, desperately clings to his past coolness. Mike, who thought he was done with fatherhood, is blindsided when his girlfriend announces her pregnancy, despite his vasectomy. The trio’s misadventures paint a picture of modern fatherhood.
The film doesn’t shy away from poking fun at office dynamics either. The trio, despite selling their company, continues to work there under the rule of Aspen Bell, the new CEO. Miles Robbins plays this character with comedic flair, embodying the archetype of a duplicitous, progressive-generation executive.
Raging Against the Machine
While “Old Dads” delves into the clash of generational values and the challenges of modern parenting, it doesn’t hold back on Jack’s rageaholic personality. Burr, known for his stand-up comedy that can be seen as “anti-woke,” struggles to balance Jack’s anger with the film’s satirical elements. Jack’s fury sometimes overshadows the social commentary, making it difficult to fully engage with the satirical bite of the movie.
The film culminates in a chaotic Las Vegas escapade, where the trio encounters their millennial nemesis. At this point, the film veers into a more conventional comedy territory, departing from the initial promise of satirical insight.
Conclusion: “Old Dads” – A Work in Progress
“Old Dads” is a mixed bag of comedic elements. It attempts to navigate the generational shifts and the challenges of modern fatherhood while maintaining the essence of Bill Burr’s signature style. However, the film sometimes struggles to strike the right balance between its satirical commentary and the over-the-top rage of its characters.
As Bill Burr’s directorial debut, “Old Dads” shows promise in its exploration of how the culture of control can affect ordinary people. In future endeavors, Burr might consider channeling the rage rather than flaunting it to create a comedy that is both funny and thought-provoking.
While “Old Dads” may not be a flawless success, it’s a stepping stone in Bill Burr’s journey as a filmmaker, and it offers moments of scathing insight into the challenges of adapting to the ever-evolving world, especially for those who yearn for the simplicity of the past. Whether you’re a fan of Bill Burr’s stand-up comedy or curious about his foray into filmmaking, “Old Dads” is worth a watch for its unique take on generational clashes and the complexities of modern fatherhood.