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    Apple’s Routine Mark Wahlberg Action Comedy – The Music news

    No one begrudges the rights of covert assassins to retire from their dangerous profession and start new lives as devoted husbands and fathers. But really, do they have to be the subjects of lame action comedies as well? The question comes to mind courtesy of the new Apple TV+ film starring Mark Wahlberg as, you guessed it, a former covert assassin who finds that leaving his past life behind isn’t as easy as he thought. Stretching its high concept but thin results to the breaking point, The Family Plan feels like a movie whose best moments were during the pitch meeting.

    The extent to which Dan Morgan (Wahlberg) has dedicated himself to starting over is made evident by his choice of residence, Buffalo, New York, and his current profession as used car salesman. Of course, as compensation he has a beautiful, loving wife, Jessica (Michelle Monaghan), and three children, including an infant, Max, and two teenagers who are both keeping secrets. Nina (Zoe Colletti) has secretly quit her high school newspaper where she was a star reporter; Kyle (Van Crosby) hasn’t given up his addiction to super-violent video games, which has resulted in him becoming an online sensation known as “KillBoy.”

    The Family Plan

    The Bottom Line

    To say it’s predictable is an insult to predictability.

    Release date: Friday, Dec. 15
    Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Ciaran Hinds, Zoe Colletti, Van Crosby, Maggie Q, Joyner Lucas, Kellen Boyle, Felicia Pearson
    Director: Simon Cellan Jones
    Screenwriter: David Coggeshall

    Rated PG-13,
    1 hour 58 minutes

    Dan who earnestly tells a customer, “It’s never too late to become the man you wanted to be,” clearly embraces his new identity. He’s an expert diaper changer, dutifully takes Jessica to the amusement park where they first met on every anniversary, and doesn’t mind that they have sex only on Thursdays. Everything seems to be going fine until he’s shopping in a supermarket with Max strapped to his chest and is violently attacked by a would-be killer whom he must fight off even while making sure no harm comes to his child. The resulting sequence proves both exciting and amusing, and marks the high point of the film, which basically runs the same joke into the ground over and over.

    Dan proposes a family cross-country road trip to Las Vegas without telling his family members his true identity, or that a team of assassins has been assigned to kill him by his former handler McCaffrey (Ciaran Hinds, in full bad-guy mode), who apparently resents Dan for having walked away from his former profession. Cue an endless series of gags in which Dan engages in brutal fights and dangerous car chases while his family members are either oblivious or sleep through them. Except, that is, for Max, a saintly baby who never once cries and who apparently finds every one of daddy’s near-fatal encounters highly amusing. If you were playing a drinking game cued to every cutaway reaction shot of the baby adorably giggling, you’d be dead before the film was over.

    As the trip goes on, Jessica becomes turned on by the new, spontaneous Dan, who suddenly exhibits a newfound machismo and reveals that he knows not one but two foreign languages. But despite his best efforts, his pursuers eventually catch up with him and he’s forced to reveal his past as they all find themselves battling for their lives. No spoilers here, but the film’s motto seems to be “the family that kills together, stays together.”

    Working from a screenplay by David Coggeshall that only occasionally proves mildly amusing, director Simon Cellan Jones proves unable to make either the comedic or action elements fully successful (although he makes sure to include the requisite shirtless scene for Wahlberg so we can admire how well he’s still taking care of himself). The actor, no stranger to comedy, does his familiar deadpan thing here to decent effect. But the real sparks are provided by Monaghan, who displays a winning enthusiasm for throwing herself into the physical aspects of her role as a wife and mother who discovers her inner badass. The terrific Maggie Q also briefly shows up as a character who seems to be one thing but then turns out to be quite another. Which is more than you can say about The Family Plan.

    Full credits

    Production: Skydance, Apple Original Films
    Distributor: Apple TV+
    Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Ciaran Hinds, Zoe Colletti, Van Crosby, Maggie Q, Joyner Lucas, Kellen Boyle, Felicia Pearson
    Director: Simon Cellan Jones
    Screenwriter: David Coggeshall
    Producers: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson
    Executive producer: John G. Scotti
    Director of photography: Michael Burgess
    Editor: Tim Porter
    Production designer: Paul Kirby
    Costume designer: Carol Ramsey
    Composer: Kevin Matley
    Casting: Sheila Jaffe

    Rated PG-13,
    1 hour 58 minutes

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