Any film which opens with two quotes from both Shakespeare and Beyoncé should at the very least live up to the hype of these two living legends. In the case of Come to Daddy, I’m unsure if director Ant Timpson received this memo. For a directorial debut with a title so wildly cringy, one would expect a bombastically unpredictable riot; a similar cinematic experience to Nicholas Pesce’s Piercing. In parts, this thread rings true in some select moments. In others, the film is nothing more than just filler, an extravagant pitch for an idea to further flourish. Screenwriter Toby Harvard, who took creative licensing from Timpson’s original concept, frequently misses the margin in the progression of the film’s narrative. Tension is always consistently produced, though the admittedly captivating dialogue does ultimately nothing to serve a purpose. All pre-developed character development fragments are never reincorporated back to the narrative. There’s the casual reference sprinkled in, though the majority of scenes just seem like additional weight to pack on to the already dense 93-minute run-time.
This issue turns more drastically problematic in the film’s insanely baffling second act twist, which completely reverses the audience’s expectations for the worst. What could have been on paper, a completed resolution to a conflict introduced in the opening minutes of the film, the actual meat of Come to Daddy, which follows the melodramatic opening act, is rushed and replaced with heavy exposition dumps. The jam-packed climax never feels rewarding, due to the clashing tones and characters who are merely present for the sake of becoming a plot device. In some ways, Bong Joon-ho and his film Parasite managed to successfully master this very style of twist which Come to Daddy failed to accomplish; the mid-movie reversal of expectations. Just like in Timpson’s film, Joon-ho introduces a new cast of characters, while still consistently building upon his self-contained world.
As vast and open the wilderness consumed vistas may be in Come to Daddy, the feeling and presence of the depicted location (the middle of nowhere), never felt essential, nor well-incorporated into the narrative. The occasionally impressive production design and lingering opening title sequence makes up for the crucial lack of world building, though Timpson’s execution almost feels uninspired. I’m happy to report though that on the other side of spectrum. Elijah Wood delivers a bat-shit unhinged role as a pseudo-intellectual hipster with plenty of parental issues. From his facial appearance to his microscopic mannerisms, Wood adds intensity to a film which already lacks a certain amount of desired energy.
Just because a film is primarily about daddy issues, doesn’t mean the film is excused from having numerous questionable problems. Cohesiveness is key when executing a horror-comedy concept. In the case of Come to Daddy, future amends and additional script supervision should be in place, when reviewing Timpson’s next feature. A film is basically like a family. A great film is usually happily united, with the occasional flaw sprinkled throughout. A bad film occurs when a major piece of a puzzle is missing; like a father figure whose consistently absent. You probably already know where Come To Daddy lands on this spectrum.
Come to Daddy opens in select cinemas on February 7th. The film is also scheduled to screen at the Mayfair Theater, located in Ottawa Ontario.