Even though the original Netflix comedy / drama “Fatherhood” begins with an unspeakable tragedy and features a number of emotional speed bumps and roadblocks that will strike you right in the heart, it is not the deepest dead parent movie and we are never struck by an unexpected setback – so there is something soothing and uplifting about the experience. It’s like the filmmakers come together and say: Let’s face it, everyone knows where this story is going, so why not shoot the audience this way and that?
I like the approach. With Kevin Hart delivering one of those more understated and authentic performances alongside a winning supporting cast of familiar character actors (and the adorable young actress playing Hart’s daughter), “Fatherhood” is a story. quick, simply told and always gentle on the obligatory man. child who must grow up quickly when his wife dies and he will have to compartmentalize his mourning because there is a newborn on whom the whole world depends on him.
Based on the New York Times bestselling non-fiction book “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love” by Matthew Logelin and directed and co-authored by reliable veteran Paul Weitz (“American Pie”, “About A Boy “,” In Good Company “),” Fatherhood “takes place in Boston (with Montreal not doing a very convincing job), where Matt de Hart and Liz de Deborah Ayorinde are about to welcome their first child. . Everything goes well at first – but soon after the birth of their baby girl Maddy, Liz suffers from complications and just like that, she is gone.
Spot scenes of Matt changing diapers to the sound of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”; bring Baby Maddy to work, where Paul Reiser is the most understanding boss ever; call on her best friends Jordan (Lil Rel Howery) and Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) to sing lullabies to Maddy and cheer her up, and attend a parent support group where all moms empathetically listen as Matt admits its shortcomings, including the inability to collapse that damn stroller! Meanwhile, Marion (the great Alfre Woodard), Matt’s well-meaning but sometimes transcendent stepmother, is pushing for Matt and Maddy to move to Liz’s hometown of Minneapolis, because after all, there is no only one man who can do.
For the second half of the movie, we move forward for about eight years, with the bubbly presence of young Melody Hurd as Maddy, who is smart, self-reliant, and funny, and absolutely adores her father. The dramatic stakes have gone down, even with the introduction of a new love interest in Kevin in the person of Swan (DeWanda Wise), who immediately hooks up with Maddy and puts up with Kevin’s inconsistencies and is going to be the best mother-in-law of. all the time we can just say it – unless Matt messes things up. Come on Matt! You got that, as they like to say in the movies.
It’s nice to see Hart in a role where the comedy is relatively low-key and dialogue-oriented (although there are a few hilarious bits of physical humor). Every moment he and Melody Hurd are on screen, we believe them as father and daughter, and while it is such a shame that Maddy never gets to know her birth mother and they will both always have this hole in their lives, we have a feeling that they’ll be fine in the long run.