This family-oriented comedy-adventure is best when the humor balances the action, but when it descends into more graphic violence, it loses what makes it original and limits its age appeal.
Wahlberg and Monahan make a great couple in The Family Plan, and the schtick of Wahlberg as a "suburban schlub" works. Highlights include scenes like Wahlberg fast-motion changing a diaper, fist-fighting a bad guy with his baby strapped in a front pack, and outrunning a group of motorcyclists while his family sleeps in the car (his wife's noise-blocking headphones blasting that most relaxing of crooners -- Enya).
The script also crafts believable backstories for the bored wife, the teen daughter overly influenced by a bad boyfriend, and the teen son with a killer online gaming profile. When Dan throws their smartphones out the window, they're forced to face each other and connect again. Watching this transformation could feel realistic -- and maybe optimistic -- for parents today.
But just when you're caught up in these characters' stories, the film changes tone to a darker, more violent actioner where personalities and story take a back seat to gun battles and knife fights. Things come back around at the end, but lightening up the brutality of the third act would have improved this film as a whole.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
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