Father Figures

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Father Figures
Father Figures (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lawrence Sher
Produced by
Written by Justin Malen
Music by Rob Simonsen
Cinematography John Lindley
Edited by Dana E. Glauberman
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 13, 2017 (2017-12-13) (TCL Chinese Theater)
  • December 22, 2017 (2017-12-22) (United States)
Running time
113 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[2]
Box office $25.6 million[3]

Father Figures (known as Who's Your Daddy? in the United Kingdom)[4] is a 2017 American comedy film directed by Lawrence Sher (in his directorial debut), written by Justin Malen, and starring Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J. K. Simmons, Katt Williams, Terry Bradshaw, Ving Rhames, Harry Shearer, June Squibb, Christopher Walken, and Glenn Close. The film follows two adult brothers who set out to find their biological father.

Principal photography began on October 5, 2015, in Atlanta, and the film was released in the United States on December 22, 2017, by Warner Bros. Pictures. It was poorly reviewed by critics, who called it devoid of "energy or purpose" and grossed $25 million against its $25 million budget.[5]


Kyle (Wilson) and Peter Reynolds (Helms) are fraternal twin brothers who were raised by their mother, Helen (Close), after thinking their father died before they were born. Kyle is dating his pregnant girlfriend, Kaylani, and has been financially successful after receiving royalties for his picture on hot sauce labels. Peter is a divorced proctologist with a teenage son who resents him. Shortly after his mother's wedding, Peter recognizes an actor on Law and Order: SVU as his father from his photo, and confronts his mother at her wedding.

Helen explained that she had been promiscuous at the time of her children's conception, and did not want their father to help raise them. As they press the issue, Helen reveals that their father is Terry Bradshaw. The brothers fly down to Florida to meet Bradshaw, who they encounter at a signing event. Bradshaw is excited to have them as sons, and welcomes them in to his home. As Bradshaw recounts stories with his friend and former teammate, Rod Hamilton (Rhames), Kyle and Peter realize that Bradshaw had been traveling in Australia at the time of their conception, and thus couldn't be their father.

The brothers are directed to find Roland Hunt (Simmons), a New York investor who dated Helen after Bradshaw. As they travel north, Kyle finds that his royalties deal with the hot sauce company is ending, and he will be unable to support his growing family. Upon arriving at what they assumed was his office, the brothers find a boarded-up house. Hunt, thinking they are robbers, confronts them at gunpoint until they reveal they were looking for him because he dated their mother. He invites them inside, but expresses his dissatisfaction at having children.

As the brothers prepare to depart, they offer to help their father in his job, which he claims is repossession. As Hunt breaks into a Ferrari, it becomes clear that he is a criminal. As the brothers argue with the owners of the Ferrari, Hunt attempts to escape, only to feel remorse for abandoning his sons. The brothers steal the Ferrari and end up hitting Hunt, who was returning to find them. At the hospital, the brothers find that they are incompatible to give Hunt blood, indicating that he cannot be their father. Hunt realizes that he was in prison at the time of their conception, but directs them to find another of Helen's ex-boyfriends named Sparkly P.

Unable to find Sparkly P, the brothers prepare to return home. Along the way, they pick up a hitch hiker (Williams), who provides advice as they travel north. After accidentally parking on railroad tracks, Peter and the hitch hiker narrowly escape getting hit by a train, while Kyle is stuck in the car and presumably killed. Initially devastated, Peter is surprised to see Kyle walk away from the car, only to be punched by Kyle for abandoning him. As they are being treated, the police officers recognize the name Sparkly P as Patrick O'Callaghan, a former police officer. As the brothers travel north, they stop at a hotel, where Peter meets and seduces Sarah (Aselton). The next morning, the brothers arrive at Patrick O'Callaghan's house to find a party occurring, only to quickly find out that it is his wake. Patrick's daughter is invited to speak, and Peter realizes that it is Sarah, his presumed half-sister. Disgusted, Peter makes a scene as he runs out of the wake, but is told by Patrick's twin brother, Kevin, that Patrick could not be his father, as he had been celibate while dating Helen. Kevin directs them to contact Dr. Walter Tinkler (Walken), who is a family friend and veterinarian from their home town.

Kyle and Peter return home to confront Dr. Tinkler. Helen arrives to explain that Tinkler is not their father, as she is not their biological mother. Helen explains that she had been working at a shelter when a woman came in and gave birth to twins. The mother died during childbirth, and Helen chose to adopt Kyle and Peter instead of having them become foster children. The brothers are happy to have learned their history, and reconcile their differences.

A year later, Kyle, Peter, and Helen are on vacation in Maui. Peter is now dating Sarah, and his son respects him. Kyle and Kaylani have twin daughters. The brothers have gone into business together and created an app that provides advice from the universe, spoken by the hitch hiker.


  • Owen Wilson as Kyle Reynolds, Peter's brother. A laid-back model who made millions by selling his image to a BBQ sauce company, he is resented by Peter for his life being so easy.
    • Alexander G. Eckert as Young Kyle
  • Ed Helms as Peter Reynolds, Kyle's brother, and a proctologist. He is divorced and facing a mid-life crisis because his teenage son, Ethan, hates him. Having never known his own father, Peter is unsure of how to deal with his son, inspiring him to attempt to find his biological father.
    • Ivan Mallon as Young Peter
  • Glenn Close as Helen Baxter, Kyle and Peter’s eccentric mother, who is revealed to have been heavily sexually active in the mid 1970s, and appears not to know who the twins' biological father is.
    • Annie Starke as Young Helen
  • J. K. Simmons as Roland Hunt, a former financial investor, reclusive criminal, and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
  • Terry Bradshaw as himself, a retired football player and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
  • Christopher Walken as Dr. Walter Tinkler, a veterinarian, and one of the potential fathers of Kyle and Peter.
  • Ving Rhames as Rod Hamilton, a friend and ex-teammate of football player Bradshaw.
  • Katt Williams as a hitchhiker who Kyle and Peter meet on their journey.
  • Harry Shearer as Gene, Helen's new husband.
  • June Squibb as Mrs. Hunt, Roland Hunt's mother.
  • Katie Aselton as Sarah O’Callaghan
  • Jessica Gomes as Kaylani, Kyle's girlfriend
  • Ali Wong as Ali, Dr. Tinkler's nurse.
  • Retta as Annie, Helen and Gene's wedding planner.
  • Jack McGee as Kevin and Patrick O'Callaghan
  • Ryan Cartwright as Liam O'Callaghan
  • Ryan Gaul as Sean O'Callaghan
  • Zachary Haven as Ethan, Peter's teenage son who hates him.


On June 14, 2011, it was announced that Paramount Pictures had acquired the rights to the comedy spec script Bastards, written by Justin Malen. The story is about two brothers who learn their father did not die when they were young.[6] The Montecito Picture Company was set to produce the film,[6] and on August 7, 2014, Alcon Entertainment also came on board to produce and finance the film, for Warner Bros., after Paramount left the project and the script went into turnaround. Cinematographer Lawrence Sher was attached to make his directorial debut,[7] and Ivan Reitman, Tom Pollock, and Ali Bell produced the film through Montecito.[7]

Jason Sudeikis was originally attached to star. On July 15, 2015, Owen Wilson and Ed Helms were cast to play the brothers, while Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove were also set to produce the film, through Alcon.[8] J. K. Simmons and Terry Bradshaw also joined the cast on August 13, 2015, to play the lead characters' potential biological fathers, with Bradshaw playing himself.[9] On August 18, 2015, Ving Rhames signed on to play Rod Hamilton, a friend and ex-teammate of football player Bradshaw.[10] On September 11, 2015, Katt Williams joined the cast,[11] on September 17, 2015, Glenn Close was in final negotiations to join the film,[12] and on October 7, 2015, Katie Aselton was also in final talks to sign on.[13] On October 22, 2015, Zachary Haven also joined the cast.[14]


Principal photography on the film began on October 5, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia.[15] Filming also took place in Miami,[9] and wrapped on December 5, 2015.[16]

After poor test screenings, the film's initial ending was reshot to make it funnier and more consistent with the rest of the film. The reshoots took place in Rutledge, Georgia in April 2017.[17] Despite high scores from test audiences after the reshoots (which also removed Bill Irwin from the film as Doctor Tinkler and replaced him with Christopher Walken), the film still received negative reviews from critics and audiences upon its release.[18]


Father Figures was originally scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. on November 4, 2016; it was later changed to January 27, 2017.[19] In January 2017, weeks before the film's planned release, the film was removed from the schedule.[20] It was later moved again to December 22, 2017.[21]

On September 15, 2017, the film was renamed from Bastards to Father Figures.[22] The title was changed because television advertisers would not play ads for the film with a cuss word in the title, as well as so that posters could be displayed in movie theaters.[23]


Box office[edit]

Father Figures grossed $17.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $8.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $25.6 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, Father Figures was released alongside the openings of Downsizing and Pitch Perfect 3, and the wide expansions of The Shape of Water and Darkest Hour, and was projected to gross around $10 million from 2,902 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] It grossed $1.4 million on its first day and $3.2 million over the three-day weekend, finishing 9th at the box office. When factoring in inflation, it was the sixth-worst opening of all-time for a film playing in at least 2,500 theaters. Deadline Hollywood attributed the film's weak performance to audiences' diminished interest in R-rated comedies, the "been there, done that" plot line, and the possibility of outdated jokes, because the film was shot in 2015.[17] The next weekend, the film grossed $3.8 million (an increase of 16%), finishing 10th.[24]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/10.[25] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 22 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[17]


  1. ^ "Father Figures". AMC Theatres. Retrieved November 22, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Dave McNary (December 19, 2017). "'Jumanji,' 'Greatest Showman,' 'Pitch Perfect' to Challenge the 'Star Wars' Box Office Force". Variety. Retrieved December 19, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Father Figures (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 23, 2018. 
  4. ^ Warner Bros. UK (15 September 2016). "Who's Your Daddy? - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK". Retrieved 2 January 2017 – via YouTube. 
  5. ^ Jeff Giles (December 21, 2017). "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is Certified Fresh". Retrieved December 22, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (June 14, 2011). "Paramount, Montecito Team On R-Rated Comedy Spec 'Bastards'". deadline.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (August 7, 2014). "Alcon in Negotiations to Rescue Larry Sher's Adult Comedy 'Bastards' (Exclusive)". thewrap.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (July 15, 2015). "Owen Wilson Joining Ed Helms in 'Bastards' Comedy (Exclusive)". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b McNary, Dave (August 13, 2015). "J.K. Simmons, Terry Bradshaw Join Ed Helms-Owen Wilson Comedy 'Bastards'". variety.com. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ Busch, Anita (August 18, 2015). "Ving Rhames Joins Growing Comedy Cast Of 'Bastards'". deadline.com. Retrieved August 19, 2015. 
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (September 11, 2015). "Katt Williams Joins Ed Helms-Owen Wilson Comedy 'Bastards'". variety.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  12. ^ Busch, Anita (September 17, 2015). "Glenn Close To Join Cast Of Comedy Feature 'Bastards'". deadline.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ Sneider, Jeff (October 7, 2015). "'The League's' Katie Aselton to Star in Ed Helms, Owen Wilson Comedy 'Bastards' (Exclusive)". thewrap.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ A. Lincoln, Ross (October 22, 2015). "Aleks Paunovic To Make 'War For The Planet Of The Apes'; Newcomer Zachary Haven Joins 'Bastards'". deadline.com. Retrieved November 11, 2015. 
  15. ^ "On the Set for 10/9/15: Marc Webb & Chris Evans Start 'Gifted', Garry Marshall & Julia Roberts Wrap 'Mother's Day'". ssninsider.com. October 9, 2015. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  16. ^ "On the Set 12/11/15: James Franco and Seth Rogen Start 'The Disaster Artist', Owen Wilson & Ed Helms Wrap 'Bastards'". ssninsider.com. December 11, 2015. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c Anthony D'Alessandro (December 24, 2017). ""Last Jedi" Lords Over Christmas Weekend B.O. With $100M+ As "Jumanji" Roars $65M+ & "Pitch Perfect 3" Sings $27M". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 24, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Owen Wilson and Ed Helms' Father Figures release date re-scheduled for January". 2017-09-29. Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  19. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 22, 2015). "Ed Helms-Owen Wilson Comedy 'Bastards' Gets November 2016 Release Date". deadline.com. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Bastards". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  21. ^ Couch, Aaron (March 16, 2017). "'Aquaman' Relocates to 'Avatar 2' Release Date in 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  22. ^ Ed Helms-Owen Wilson Comedy ‘Bastards’ Changes Title to ‘Father Figures’
  23. ^ "Father Figures writer Justin Malen on keeping the R-rated comedy fresh | ScreenwritingU Magazine". screenwritingumagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-12-21. 
  24. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (December 31, 2017). "'Last Jedi' Has Upper Hand Over 'Jumanji' In New Year's Weekend Duel As 2017 B.O. Closes With $11.1B – Monday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 1, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Father Figures (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 9, 2018. 
  26. ^ "Father Figures Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 27, 2018. 

External links[edit]