Dads: Humorous Doc Celebrates Fatherhood

Director Bryce Dallas Howard and producer Ron Howard on the set of “Dads,” premiering globally June 19 on Apple TV+.

Dads is a humorous documentary that celebrates modern fatherhood and it marks the feature directorial debut of Bryce Dallas Howard.

The apple does not fall far from the tree.  While we already knew acting ran in the family, directing does as well.  The film might be getting released now but it was filmed before Howard’s stint as a director of The Mandalorian.  Of course, she’s no strangers to movie sets with her father being Ron Howard.

One of the choices that I love is the Howard’s use of stand-up comedians.  Their testimonials are weaved in throughout the film with other fathers and their experiences with raising children.  Everyone’s experiences are different.  Will Smith personally talks about how there is no script.  There really isn’t.  If anybody tells you there is a script to raising children, they’re lying.

When it comes to the non-comedians, Howard takes a look at fatherhood through six particular families living across the globe.  It’s a smart decision here that the fathers aren’t limited to the United States.  Anyway, we get a look at them through interviews, home movies, and viral videos.  The other thing about this film is that we get a glimpse of life that film so rarely offers.  I mean, there are those films that truly feel authentic and then there are those films that you can’t really buy into what’s happening.

While many people with children are familiar with the mommy bloggers, there are also the daddy vloggers.  The whole concept is honestly new when it comes to parenthood because these are stay-at-home fathers.  They are also what Howard refers to as the Hero Dads.  It’s one way to stand apart from the Funny Dads that we see throughout the film.

Another concept that Bryce Dallas Howard decides to explore is the expectant father by way of her brother, Reed Howard.  She films her brother while her sister-in-law is upstairs having a baby shower.  The baby shower of course is a right of passage for women.  There’s not really anything for men when it comes to having children.  Maybe in the future people will look to Dads because the film offers an instruction manual.  Even if it is what Bryce Dallas Howard refers to as stealth.

More than just the Funny and Hero Dads, Bryce Dallas Howard makes it a family affair.  In addition to both Ron and Reed Howard, the film includes previously shot footage of the late Rance Howard.  While the film would be an otherwise fine documentary without the Howards, their inclusion helps in exploring the look at fatherhood and relationships with children.  For one, we get a first-hand look at how things have changed over the years.

Dads is a contemporary celebration of fatherhood that comes just in time for Father’s Day.

DIRECTOR: Bryce Dallas Howard
FEATURING:  Ron Howard, Rance Howard, Reed Howard, Judd Apatow, Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Ron Howard, Ken Jeong, Jimmy Kimmel, Hasan Minaj, Conan O’Brien, Patton Oswalt, Will Smith, Thiago Queiroz, Robert Selby, Rob Scheer, Reece Scheer, Glen “Beleaf” Henry, Shuichi Sakuma

Following a virtual US premiere at AFI Docs, Apple TV launches Dads on June 19, 2020. Grade: 3.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.