Movie Review: 'Like Father' (2018)

Like Father Kelsey Grammer Harry Kristen Bell Rachel Netflix

Many of us watch movies to take us on an emotional journey, and “Like Father” does precisely that. Our story picks up on the wedding day of job-addicted Rachel (Kristen Bell), who, unbeknownst to her, can count her estranged father, Harry (Kelsey Grammer), as a guest at her nuptials. The thing is, what Harry has attended, hoping it will be the happiest day of his daughter’s life, turns out to be everything but.

When Rachel is supposed to be focusing on her soon-to-be-husband (aka the man she is preparing to commit to for the rest of her life), she repeatedly fixates on her true love: work. Her fiancรฉe has understandably had enough.

Fed up, her fiancรฉe decides not to go through with the marriage, leaving Rachel at the altar after one especially painful development. Taking no personal accountability, Rachel sinks into self-pity and a semi-breakdown.

Harry decides to reach out to his daughter, and the two get hammered. Rachel gets so drunk that she invites her father along for her now-former honeymoon cruise. And just like that, “Like Father” starts to get going.

What ensues is a lot of situational comedy and dramatic moments that pull at the heartstrings. You also get to go on a luxury cruise without leaving the comfort of your living room. All told, “Like Father” is an equally fun and moving experience.

The script is rife with strong material, its only drawback being Rachel's unlikability. While every other character is exceptionally endearing, Rachel is not. 

It takes too long for her to finally open up and stop acting cruelly. When she finally does, Rachel only becomes likable for short bursts of time. Her self-centeredness is extraordinarily off-putting, and the movie is honest in the fact that a luxury cruise cannot cure personalities.

Kristen Bell has the task of making Rachel watchable and admirably succeeds. As Rachel's introspective and quietly heartbreaking father, Kelsey Grammer phenomenally contributes to making “Like Father” the memorable gem that it is. 

Grammer brings his trademark gravitas to the role of a haunted soul seeking forgiveness, masterfully bringing a character that is not entirely sympathetic on the script’s surface to charismatic life.

This is what movies are supposed to do, challenge, probe, and make one listen when they would usually close their hearts. As a father/daughter film, director Lauren Miller Rogen delivers an emotional journey that is funny, sweet, touching, and entertaining. 

Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer make for a believable father/daughter team that experiences moving highs and lows that hit with sincerity. Meanwhile, the supporting cast of characters that get involved in their relationship are all tremendous.

These are the traveling companions we all wish to encounter. They add depth to the film, and you can feel it. When it comes to the tender dramedy, there is no denying its charm. 

“Like Father” has moments that make a smile spread across one’s face with abandon. It is often brimming with genuine emotion. This is one movie trip well worth taking.

Rating: 8/10

[Featured Image by Netflix]