Old Dads Parent Guide
The jokes aren't funny and the recycled culture war skirmishes are simply tedious.
Parent Movie Review
At an age when most adults see retirement in the not-too-distant future, Jack, Connor, and Mike (played by Bill Burr, Bobby Cannavale, and Bokeem Woodbine) are in the trenches of early parenthood. Jack and his wife have a preschooler, with a baby on the way. Connor and his wife also have a preschooler, and Mike has just learned that his young girlfriend is unexpectedly pregnant. Having kids in your late forties and early fifties is challenging enough, but these lifelong friends have other issues to manage.
The three men have just sold their company which is now being run by a 28-year-old with lofty ambitions about going viral and little loyalty to the core business. In addition to finding their footing in this new office environment, Jack tries to make peace with the hyper-progressive preschool principal he offended, Connor submits himself to his controlling wife’s rules, and Mike grapples with his reluctance about being a dad for the second time around. After things blow up at the office, the men learn that “locker room talk” has consequences (even when it takes place in a rental car). Eventually, they wind up in a strip club in the desert, trying to figure out what really matters to them.
When a major studio like Miramax skips theaters and releases a movie directly to Netflix, that sends up a red flag, which should be heeded. Old Dads is supposed to be a comedy but it’s not funny. The jokes are often offensive, the characters are flat and unappealing, and the writing consists mainly of sexual expletives strung together with exposition, insults, and rage.
This script might not tell much of a story, but it clumsily attempts to depict a subset of men consumed with anger over what they see as their loss of respect in 21st century culture. The entire tale is a screaming indictment against “wokeness” at its most absurd. Jack is constantly irate or critical over everything – judgmental parenting attitudes, transgender people, and the über-progressive preschool school his son attends. If you’re also enraged by this kind of stereotyped faux liberalism, Bill Burr will be a kindred spirit, but I don’t see mass appeal in a movie that recycles tired culture war skirmishes for the big screen. Frankly, I’m just as annoyed by films that portray liberals as virtue-signaling thought police as I am by productions that depict conservatives as racist, women-hating fundamentalists. Neither are amusing and both sabotage our ability to understand one another and build a cohesive, functioning society.
This film narrows its potential audience further with a mind-boggling amount of negative content. Spouting an average of two-and-a-half swear words per minute, this script isn’t family-friendly, and all the drinking, cocaine use, and cigar smoking doesn’t help. The three buddies get drunk, gamble, and go to a strip club where they watch strippers and have lap dances with women whose scanty costumes leave breasts and buttocks exposed. Repeated mentions of oral sex, masturbation, and porn don’t improve the movie’s tone.
Depressingly, there’s not much in this movie that’s worth watching. Yes, Jack decides that he loves his kids enough to work on his temper and Mike steps up for his coming child. Connor even makes a bid for respect from his shrewish wife. But none of these character arcs are interesting enough to consume 104 minutes of your life – unless watching angry people rant is your idea of a good time.
Directed by Bill Burr. Starring Bobby Cannavale, Bill Burr, Bokeem Woodbine. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release October 20, 2023. Updated November 1, 2023
Watch the trailer for Old Dads
Rating & Content Info
Why is Old Dads rated R? Old Dads is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive language, sexual material, nudity, and brief drug use.
Violence: A woman slaps her partner for denying his paternity of her pregnancy. Armadillo roadkill is briefly visible. A child hits a pregnant woman in the stomach. A man threatens to throw someone into a pool. A woman slaps her husband after he insults her. Men have a fistfight in a strip club: some minor abrasions are seen afterwards.
Sexual Content: There are repeated mentions of masturbating to online porn. A man mentions a vasectomy and “pulling out”. A man uses a slang term for semen. There’s mention of abortion for an unplanned pregnancy. Having a period is used as a derogatory insult for men. Men discuss the pros and cons of having sex with different women. There’s a crude pun about women’s genitals. A woman mentions letting a date touch her breasts. Transgender issues and people are used as comic fodder. Scantily clad women perform lap dances and pole dancing: some have visible breasts and all have bare buttocks. There’s mention of oral sex on more than one occasion, with varied terminology.
Profanity: The script contains approximately 155 varied sexual expletives and a few sexual hand gestures, as well as numerous crude terms for male and female sexual anatomy. There are also 51 scatological curses and about four dozen terms of deity. There are ten minor swear words and several uses of the “n” word in song lyrics.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink beer in a social context. A man drinks hard liquor after getting fired. There is a coded mention of marijuana gummies. Adults smoke cigars. A man repeatedly snorts cocaine.
Page last updated November 1, 2023
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For a much better story about an older man facing the challenges of parenthood, you can watch Father of the Bride Part II. Steve Martin stars as a man whose wife and daughter are both pregnant at the same time in this comical tale of love and adjustment.
Other positive movies about fathers include Fatherhood, about a widower who has to go it alone with his infant daughter, and Dads, a documentary by Bryce Dallas Howard about her dad and other famous fathers. In The Pursuit of Happyness, a homeless dad does everything he can to provide a future for his son.
Old Dads has some notable similarities to City Slickers, a far better film about mid-life challenges, male friendship, and finding priorities. Starring Billy Crystal, it features three friends living out a boyhood dream of going on a cattle drive through the American West.