Having co-founded Hilarity for Charity with her husband, along with appearing in a handful of comedies (For a Good Time, Call…, Sausage Party), Lauren Miller Rogen flexes her filmmaking muscles in her directorial feature debut Like Father, Netflix’s latest dramedy.
A jilted workaholic (Kristen Bell) is reunited with her absent father (Kelsey Grammer) after they run into each other at her botched wedding. The random run-in relocates to a nearby bar where their agitation fades into a messy night of drinking and somewhat burying the hatchet. The next morning, they’re hung over on a Royal Caribbean cruise – her honeymoon that never was. Immediately regretting the night before, she starts making plans to abandon ship while he recommends they stay and take a break from life.
Bell and Grammer have nice, endearing chemistry within their family dynamic and, individually, they find happy mediums within their roles to play towards broadly familiar yet evolved character traits. Supporting roles are also well cast in Miller’s film, including funny actors playing unbelievably nice passengers on the cruise, Seth Rogen as a scene-stealing straight-edge Canadian divorcé, and Bell’s boss played by comedian and Netflix MVP Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, LOVE).
Benefiting from its casual release on Netflix, Like Father is pleasant although a touch too long and shamelessly indulgent with its Royal Caribbean product placement; though the lush cinematography of exotic locations are to die for. What’s most important is that Rogen’s film is enjoyable in the moment, and it knows how to entertain (a highlight being a cheesy game show that Bell and Grammer hilariously “fix”).
Lauren Miller Rogen’s friendly debut fits nicely in her career of making people smile.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie