Meanwhile, Debbie has a somewhat interesting dynamic with a father (John Lithgow) who left her behind to start a new family, but then they dilute that by giving Pete daddy issues of his own. It concerns his inability to say no to a grubby father (Albert Brooks) to whom he’s loaned 80K over the last few years. Needless to say, this plot point is especially infuriating given all the other money issues these people face. It plays as overkill and makes you think “How can these people be this crazy bad and flippant with money?”
It’s possible this stuff won’t bother most people, and they’ll be able to enjoy the quality domestic strife going on here. Rudd and Mann are both quite good, and Maude and Iris Apatow continue to be natural in front of the camera. But for me, it just didn’t jell. I think financial issues were a perfect way to go, but maybe focus on how the kids, not your dad, are sucking all your money out of you? Or jettison all the extraneous subplots and focus more on Pete’s business failings and the whole claustrophobic feeling that accompanies being a 40-year-old with responsibilities and declining health.
I don’t want to be unfair. In the end, this is a decent movie that ambles along with two likeable leads, giving them some funny people to bounce off of and some real emotions to play. I see the value in that. I just think this one misses the mark a bit. B-