The Family Plan Review

The Family Plan
When his past catches up with him, former government assassin-turned-family man Dan (Mark Wahlberg) takes his wife and kids on a trip to Las Vegas. But how long before Dan’s façade crumbles and his family discovers the uncomfortable truth about his blood-soaked past?

by Barry Levitt |
Published on

Dan (Mark Wahlberg) hates being photographed. He's got a good reason for that: he’s lived the last couple of decades undercover in Buffalo with his wife Jessica (Michelle Monaghan) and their three children, hiding from his past as a contract killer. That’s the intriguing kernel of an idea that powers The Family Plan. But Davis Coggeshall’s script sets itself on auto-pilot and doesn’t look back. It shifts from one cliché to another, dragging itself from one scene to the next.

The Family Plan

It’s disappointing, because The Family Plan has the ingredients for a killer comedy. Its cast is game, doing impressive work to try and deliver something beyond the one-dimensional characters they’ve been saddled with. Wahlberg is especially charismatic, delivering one of his best performances in ages, and Monaghan stands out despite being saddled with a one-dimensional character. But The Family Plan is unnecessarily long, turning a potentially punchy flick into a bloated mess with more plot-holes than laughs. There’s barely enough story here for 80 minutes, and stretching it to two hours is an Olympic feat.

After unconvincingly setting up the family dynamic — how does a top-tier hitman not have the wherewithal to realise his son is secretly a famous streamer? — the script goes on cruise control. Every beat is a familiar one, done better elsewhere.

The film does, however, have some decent set-pieces. In a grocery store, Dan fist-fights with an assailant while wearing his child in a baby carrier. It’s a fun and intriguing concept: you don’t often see deadly assassins on daddy duties. That sequence is largely a riot, though some jarring visual effects prevent the scene from really taking off.

Another flash of ingenuity occurs in a cleverly executed car chase, with a twist: while bad guys shoot at him, Dan has to maintain a careful quiet, in order not to wake his family, who are fast asleep in the car with him. It’s funny, original, and points to how The Family Plan could have been something special. It’s unfortunate, then, that the rest is a hollow, paint-by-numbers exercise.

A comic thriller that isn’t especially funny or particularly exciting, The Family Plan is an overlong slog that struggles to make use of its game cast.
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