David: The BRWC Review. By Alif Majeed.
You got to hand it to Will Ferrell as from time to time, he does attempts to surprise you. He might not always succeed, but he gets you by his side when it does.
What makes movies like A Deadly Adoption and Casa de Mi Padre so interesting is how he plays it straight with no nudging or winking at the audience. The first shot of David that you get of Will Farell looking stressed and disheveled. You see him as a tired therapist rather than a guy trying to show off his dramatic chops. William Jackson Harper, the titular David, is having a therapy session with Will when the latter’s son, (the other titular David, played by Fred Hechinger), barges in angrily demanding that he come for his wrestling match that is about to start in half an hour.
The 10 minutes short perfectly portrays the relationship between the absentee father and his stubborn son. He is all too aware that his son’s wrestling stint is just the latest fad he got into, causing him to dismiss his aspirations. He is just too involved with his patients (or so he thinks) to prioritize his son’s latest whim.
What pulls a tiny wedge in his plan, though, is David, (the son, not the patient), who has not realized his own half-hearted seriousness about his aspirations, which are his mere whims. But to him, it is a life or death situation where not being present at the bout almost amounts to an act of treason from his dad.
Will Ferrell and Fred Hechinger play off each other rather too well, with Fred going toe to toe with Will. You could argue that Fred has the showier role as the stubborn brat, but Farrell knows when to pull back and allows Fred to take center stage.
Caught between the dueling father-son is William Harper, playing the exasperated patient who is mostly reacting to the duo. But a perfectly placed glance here or a throwaway line there from him helps push Will and Fred further in their story. He also gets the defining moment of the short when he, the one guy among the three with a potentially life-threatening disease, resolves the conflict between the two in the most touching way possible.
It was a pleasant surprise knowing Zach Woods, known for his role as Jared Dunn in Silicon Valley, the exasperated guy mostly reacting to the others in that show, directed David. I liked enough of what I saw in David to look forward to whatever Zach Woods comes up with next.
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