IT guy Matthew Logelin (Kevin Hart) and his wife Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) just had their first baby Maddy. Unfortunately tragedy struck the very next day leaving Matt to be a single father. As he struggled to find his bearings, he had the support of his mother Anna (Thedra Porter), and Liz's parents Marian (Alfre Woodard) and Mike (Frankie Faison). However, against everyone's expectations for him to fail, Matthew decided to raise Maddy up by himself.
This was a very typical drama about a man suddenly thrust to becoming a first-time father on his own. However, since the star was a subdued Kevin Hart in the central role of Matthew, the film took the lighter route. He had two loyal but oddball friends, Jordan (Lil Rel Howery) and Oscar (Anthony Carrigan), and an understanding boss Paul (Paul Reiser). He was given another chance at love with Lizzie (DeWanda Wise), whom Maddy sweetly called Swan.
Most of Maddy's infancy days mostly focused on poop and diaper problems more than everything else, to fit in with Hart's brand of comedy. However, the situation got much brighter when spunky and adorable little Melody Hurd took over as school age Maddy. The chemistry between Hart and Hurd was the centerpiece of this bittersweet film. Admittedly though, shortcuts were taken to leave out most of the terrible twos and trying threes.
Matt had strong positive family support, a luxury not all single dads had on their side. As the doubting mother-in-law Marion, Alfre Woodard can surely be intimidating with her eyes alone. You know she meant well, but she was brutally frank in her lack of confidence about Matt's abilities as a father, as how most mothers-in-law probably would about their sons-in-law. Thankfully, their conflicts never went all out histrionic, as both stayed civil with each other.
Released in time for Father's Day, this heartwarming film directed and co-written by Paul Weitz, adapted from the 2011 memoirs of the real life Matthew Logelin (a white man interestingly), paid tribute to all single fathers out there who go beyond themselves and their insecurities to raise their children on their own and do well. Having to develop and nurture maternal instinct from scratch, responsible single fathers were a rare tougher breed of men who deserve more recognition than they get.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."