Review: Fatherhood

FATHERHOOD (L-R): MELODY HURD as MADDY, KEVIN HART as MATT. Cr. PHILIPPE BOSSE/NETFLIX © 2021. 

Kevin Hart follows up with the next big release of his continuing partnership with Netflix with the release of Fatherhood, based on Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love; by: Matthew Logelin.

A father brings up his baby girl as a single dad after the unexpected death of his wife who died a day after their daughter’s birth.

Kevin Hart is turning into a jack of all trades these days when it comes to his acting prowess. Known predominately for his stand up and more comedic roles, Hart once again here shows his ability to take on more dramatic characters and running with it. The first 10 minutes of the film are the most powerful, with the harrowing scenes of his wife’s death and despite only being a short while not the film, it’s to Hart’s credit that you are fully invested in him and his wife, Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) and the absolute heartbreak that it causes.

Once you’ve recovered from that, Fatherhood then drops you straight into a tug of love from over bearing mother in law Marian (Alfre Woodward) and to lighten it up a bit some Three Men and A Baby-esque scenes featuring Matt’s best friends Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) & Jordan (Lil Trey Howery). This is probably the films weakest section before it time jump us a few years along and baby Maddie is no longer a baby but now at school age and all the problems that come with that.

Fatherhood scenes are strongest when Swann (Dewanda Wise) Maddie (a precocious Melody Hurd) and Matt are interplaying around each other, fortunately the film doesn’t stray down the easiest road of the hating the new girlfriend and trying to undermine her trope as so many of these types of story do, but actually accentuates the bonding, which makes for a nice change.

Director Paul Weitz perfectly crafts his cast around the source material and creates a moving family drama, at times the pace slows while it wallows in it’s own self pity, but due to the star power of Hart, Hurd, Wise and Woodward, it never lingers too long there.

Fatherhood’s final act seems somewhat rushed, either the editing was a bit heavy-handed or everything needed to fit a certain run time as it kind of all happens in a blink of an eye and some side stories (Whatever did happen to Oscar on the business trip?) are just left unfinished.

Overall this is another solid performance from Kevin Hart, which allow him to show off his many talents, although not quite as good as his performance in 2017’s The Upside, he still shows you why he’s one of the most bankable stars in the world today. Make sure you have tissues to hand though as this is a far from smooth ride, but one that is worth taking.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Fatherhood is streaming now on Netflix

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