Bill Burr, known for his sharp wit and unapologetic comedy, steps into the director’s chair for his debut film, ‘Old Dads’. While Burr’s comedic prowess is undeniable, the film’s lackluster reception on Netflix suggests a misfire in his transition to filmmaking. Despite a talented ensemble cast, ‘Old Dads’ struggles to deliver the biting humor and incisive commentary Burr is celebrated for.
‘Old Dads’ follows Jack (played by Burr), a middle-aged father navigating the challenges of parenthood while contending with the influx of millennial culture. Alongside his friends, Connor (Bobby Cannavale) and Mike (Bookeem Woodbine), the trio grapples with generational clashes, workplace upheaval, and personal crises. Jack’s journey as an older parent is at the heart of the narrative, exploring themes of family, aging, and societal change.
The film’s opening minutes attempt to establish its comedic tone through riffs on veganism and cancel culture. Unfortunately, these early moments feel forced and lack the depth and nuance typically associated with Burr’s humor. The initial segment sets a disappointing tone that proves difficult to overcome.
Burr’s comedy often thrives on pushing boundaries and challenging societal norms. However, ‘Old Dads’ falls short in this regard. The humor predominantly relies on politically incorrect remarks, failing to offer the incisive social commentary for which Burr is known. The attempts to offend come across as tired and lackluster, missing the mark on provoking meaningful reflection.
Despite the film’s shortcomings, the camaraderie between Burr, Cannavale, and Woodbine is a saving grace. Their interactions breathe life into the narrative, providing moments of genuine camaraderie and humor. Cannavale, in particular, shines with his portrayal of Connor, injecting vitality and comedic brilliance into the film.
‘Old Dads’ does possess moments of genuine emotion, revealing a softer side to Burr’s character, Jack. The film attempts to balance its irreverent humor with heartfelt moments centered around Jack’s relationship with his son. However, this tonal shift occasionally clashes with the overall comedic intent of the movie.
While Bill Burr’s comedic talent is beyond question, ‘Old Dads’ represents a missed opportunity in his directorial debut. Despite strong performances and moments of genuine connection, the film struggles to deliver the incisive humor and social commentary for which Burr is celebrated. ‘Old Dads’ ultimately falls flat, leaving viewers with a sense of unfulfilled potential from a comedic icon.