Mark Wahlberg’s latest movie is a fun but predictable journey, although it admirably keeps its main characters in the dark till it’s absolutely necessary for the big reveal!
There have been more than a few movies around December, and most of them have been Christmas based. Even Marvel is releasing What If…? season 2 with a Christmas episode. However, The Family Plan is not a Christmas movie. I don’t even think it’s set in December.
It immediately makes it an odd choice for a film to release at this time of year. It is however, a rather comfortable and easy film to watch, and while it’s meant to feel high _ stakes, it instead feels quite light as the problems the film produces for its characters are quite easily solved. The very vibe of the film tells you from the get-go everything is going to be ok.
The story follows Mark Wahlberg’s character, Dan Morgan, father of three and husband to Jessica Morgan (Michelle Monaghan - Mission Impossible 3, True Detective). Dan’s a good husband who opposes violence so much he even hates it when his son plays violent games.
Dan’s life is good and has been for eighteen years. Until one day his old friends track him down. Turns out, Dan used to be called Sean and was a government assassin turned killer-for-hire in an operation he left to pursue an ordinary life. Now his former boss and father figure, McCaffrey (Game of Thornes’s Ciarán Hinds), is out to find him and kill him.
Dan turns to an old friend who can provide him and his family with new ID’s – the hitch, he must travel to Vegas to get them. Bigger hitch, his family doesn’t know assassins are trying to kill them. Whilst trying to keep them in the dark, Dan takes them on a long drive to Las Vegas and tries to mend the broken bonds of his family before it’s too late to do so.
The Family Plan is by no means a brilliant movie. It’s rather standard, sadly so for an Apple TV production. This is not to say this is a bad film, it simply feels very typical of a Mark Wahlberg film – man with big muscles fights and kills other men with big muscles!
Honestly, what makes this movie frustrating is much of the comedy falls short, and this movie needs comedy to be even mildly captivating. Gags like the Morgan’s being asleep in the car whilst Dan’s shooting bad guys off motorcycles feels poorly done and far too much like an imitation of something Jason Bourne-esque.
The sub plots also feel pointless. It never feels relevant that Dan’s son Kyle (Van Crosby) is a gaming streamer icon. Neither does it feel like the inclusion of his daughter Nina (Zoe Colletti) having a boyfriend in a far-off state, who is cheating on her, provides anything but a reason to extend the run time (which at nearly two hours, feels like a lot!).
In fact, Zoe’s often only purpose is to carry around the baby of the family, who is perhaps the only actor on set that manages to be continuously worth watching. It feels often reductive that characters such as Zoe and Jessica, who are clearly intelligent, are reduced to just baby carriers. It’s typical of a Wahlberg film, the men get all the action, and the girls look after the kids and ‘fight’ the evil exes. We’re in 2023, we can do better.
While the film is not superb, it’s still entertaining enough to pass away a night. Though I doubt anyone will watch this film more than once. If anything, Mark’s journey in this move might be the universe giving the actor a sign. Stop making bad action films! He’s too old to be doing these stunts anyway.
Fun but predicable, with a few good chuckles, The Family Plan is a movie that feels light enough for an evening watch over the holidays but fails to break or even make the mould of a good Christmas film.
The Family Plan is available on Apple TV right now to stream or download.
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