Fatherhood is a family drama starring Kevin Hart that centers on a man who loses his wife in childbirth and has to raise his daughter as a single parent.
Based on the book “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love” by Matthew Logelin (played by Hart), we meet him and his wife Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) as she is about to give birth. After an emergency cesarean, she passes away from a pulmonary embolism.
Faced with the daunting task of being a single father immediately after losing the love of his life, Logelin juggles fatherhood, his high stress office job, and strong pressure from Liz’s mother Marian (Alfre Woodard) to move back to their hometown so she can help him raise his daughter Maddy.
His support team consists of his two well-meaning friends Jordan (Lil Rel Howery) and Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) who give off vibes of the 1987 film “Three Men and a Baby,” and his boss (Paul Reiser) who tries to be understanding.
The movie doesn’t really find its stride until a small time jump ages Maddy from baby to young girl (Melody Hurd). She rebels against the rules of her Christian school (she refuses to wear the school uniform of a skirt, instead choosing pants), and is suspicious when she discovers Logelin has been dating a woman, also named Liz (DeWanda Wise).
It’s here that the film gains a bit of hope as Logelin starts falling in love, and Maddy comes to accept this new woman in her dad’s life. But of course, there’s one big dramatic scene that shakes his entire world and once again makes him doubt he’s the right one to raise his daughter.
The situations Logelin finds himself in are very relatable, and the viewer is swept along as Matt grows to meet the demands and quirks of parenting (the scene where he busts into a parenting class is hilarious). It’s also nice to see a black father portrayed in a positive light.
Fatherhood doesn’t tread any new ground in single father films, but it does have a good script and a solid lead in Hart, who dials back on his manic comedic personality to sell the dramatic moments of this film.
I’m giving Fatherhood a 4 out of 5 stars. It debuts on Netflix June 18, 2021.
Director: Paul Weitz
Cast: Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Melody Hurd, DeWanda Wise, Lil Rel Howery, Anthony Carrigan, Paul Reiser
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