Lauren Miller Rogen’s charming feature comedy, Like Father, is elevated by the chemistry between Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer.
The workaholic that she is, Rachel Hamilton (Kristen Bell) was nowhere near ready to walk down the aisle for her wedding. I don’t mean that in getting cold feet. Her phone almost never leaves her hands or ear because there’s always work to be done! When her fiance, Owen (Jon Foster), leaves her at the altar, her estranged father, Harry (Kelsey Grammer) enters the picture with the hope of making her feel better. Harry had been out of her life for 25 years only to show up on her wedding day thanks to the internet.
A massive hangover later, Rachel finds herself waking up somewhere in the Atlantic ocean on a Royal Caribbean cruise with her father. It’s probably not the best situation for anyone to be especially when their relationship isn’t in a good place. In spite of everything going on in their own lives, Rachel and Harry are there when they need the other the most. Throw in their new circle of cruise friends, including therapist and some of the comedy just manages to write itself. While at sea, Rachel manages to have a rebound fling with Canada native Jeff Friedman (Seth Rogen).
The real reason we’re here is because of Rachel and Harry. Once they’re at the waterfall in Jamaica, the two start to see each other in a better light. They start to resolve their issues over the last 25 years. The two of them become very different people than the ones we met earlier. Even when the cruise does come to an end, you want to spend more time with Rachel and Harry.
Lauren Miller Rogen, who co-wrote the very funny For a Good Time, Call…, does a superb job behind the camera for her feature debut. Whether it was the 2012 film or this new feature, Rogen brings such a fascinating voice to her projects. It’s been six years since the earlier feature film but this film makes the wait worth it.
It helps that she is working with some superb talent in front of the camera. Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell bring so much to their characters. Bell plays the opposite of who she is in real life–probably as far from her as she could get for a role. Yet she’s able to find what makes Rachel vulnerable but still likable as a person. She’s Kristen Bell…she can turn any character likable without missing a beat! The two of them are able to lift up the material no matter what’s on the page. By the end of the film, we really buy into the idea of them being father and daughter.
There are enough teaching moments in Like Father that should get us to step away from the screen for a while–unless you’re watching Like Father.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Lauren Miller Rogen
CAST: Kristen Bell, Kelsey Grammer, Paul Downs, Zach Appelman, Leonard Ouzts, Blaire Brooks, Anthony Laciura, Mary Looram, Brett Gelman, and Seth Rogen