Starring: Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, and Paul Reiser
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Rating: *** ½
If you can get over the blatant colour blindness of this post-gestation dramedy—the father in the original was a White man—and if you can accept the very engaging Kevin Hart as the sudden-widower left with the responsibility of looking after his baby girl, you are in for a treat.
Fatherhood, which seems inspired by Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai(go ahead, laugh) will make you sob and giggle, sometimes at the same time, as Hart playing Matthew Logelin struggles with playing Daddy and Mommy to his little motherless baby.Remember Shah Rukh Khan in KKHH?
What could have been a seriously soppy over-sweetened sentimental yawn-inducing yarn sparkles and sussurates with an inner vigour and and extraneous splendor. The film is beautifully shot .Even the baby’s poo looks pretty(just kidding). There is a sense of purpose behind the peachy prettiness. How to cope with tragedy of suddenly losing your wife(Deborah Ayorinde, doing Rani Mukherjee from KKHH) and how to cope with single parenthood specially when the parent doesn’t have breasts?
(To this Hart heartfelt response, “Sometimes they do”)
Some American critics(gosh, these yanks are are so hard to please!) have complained about the lack of dramatic conflict in the plot. Wrong wrong! Wrong,my friends. It’s not the drama that is missing. It is the dramatic externalization of a potentially hysterical situation that director Paul Weitz(a veteran, if ever there was one) avoids . He keeps the simmering tension between Hart and his mother-in-law Marion(Alfre Woodard) on a slow-burn. Whenever the tension-filled question—how can Matthew bring up his daughter all by himself?—raises it head, Kevin Hart quashes it with a humorous quip .Or otherwise the script lets the baby play referee. One look at her and her protectors are putty.
It’s like watching a film that is determined at any cost to avoid unpleasantness which is not such a bad thing in today’s desperate times. Then there is Kevin Hart’s chemistry with the little girl Melody Hurd who plays his daughter Maddy. They look so much like a father and daughter together that I felt any feminine intrusion into Matthew’s life to be a clear case of trespassing.
Anyway, love does happen again. There is an unnecessary drama over Swan(DeWanda Wise) entering as widower-daddy’s new love interest.Kajol, she is not.I don’t think she aspires to be. The actors are all so agreeable it is like watching a film that you have gifted yourself for a special occasion.
Fatherhood is a must-watch for those nervous about having a child and a refresher course for those who have been there done it all. Dirty diapers will never be the same again.