Father Stu; Grade: B-
Father Stu tells a story about an amateur boxer named Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) whom gotten word from a doctor that he can severely damage himself medically, if he continues to box as he’s dealing with nasty infections within his blood and such. Stuart decides to move on from boxing to pursue his dream as an actor, as he moves to California. All Stuart can hold down was a butcher job, as he struggles catching a break in the entertainment industry. Stuart one day while working laid eyes on a customer named Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), whom Stuart found very attractive. Thanks to a co-worker Stuart was able to find Carmen at a Catholic Church, in which Carmen was heavily into the Catholic faith. What will bound between these two? Will Stuart achieve his romantic desires or will he achieve in something much more, that could actually reshape his entire persona?
I figured since we’re closing in on Easter Sunday: Why not check out this film in which more than likely, will be telling some kind of religious story?! Seems fitting enough.
Mark Wahlberg without a doubt was honestly the main highlight of this entire film for me, as I found his performance to be his best since The Fighter… Which ironic enough both films do feature a Mark Wahlberg playing a boxer of some kind. It’s been a long time since Mark Wahlberg truly transformed himself into a completely different person, as much of his performances usually go about the same, but this film he truly went for it and I felt the endeared passion he wanted to achieve in this performance. I’m extremely happy for Wahlberg by not only this great performance, but what also this performance has done for him as a person, as it helped restore and changed his perspective on his faith… Awesome all around I must say.
Also enjoyed the cast all around. I felt Mel Gibson had a solid performance as Stuart’s father, I felt his presence was delivered in the final act especially. Jacki Weaver playing Stuart’s mother also had a solid performance, there’s a couple effective comedic and emotional sequences from her especially. I enjoyed Teresa Ruiz playing Stuart’s love interest, her and Wahlberg both had solid chemistry together.
Father Stu delivers a pretty strong beginning and a good chunk in the middle. This character Stuart Long was throughly entertaining to watch, as he has quite an out going personality. You can clearly tell Stuart is directionless, like you see the charm within the person himself however his approach you can clearly tell is a lost cause that needs to discover his moral purpose in his life. The development between Stuart and Carmen will not make one feel completely in awe in the beginning, however as it goes on you truly admire what this unexpected acquaintanceship has made an impact on both sides really. Thanks to Carmen; Stuart found true meaning within faith and discover himself as a person, as he found his purpose. Thanks to Stuart; Carmen learned to give all a fair chance at redemption, even if they don’t play the part, which can be also said about Stuart wanting to pursue becoming a Priest as well with just about everyone involved in his life.
One of the most unexpected strong aspects of this film for me was the comedy material: I wasn’t expecting to laugh as much as I did, this film was surprisingly very funny. It’s the type of humor you don’t normally see often now a days, I feel the reason being is the type of humor that can come across “offensive” even though it’s depicting actual real human beings in their mannerisms. Like do you expect Stuart and his family watching over their heads in how they approach themselves, so they can be accepted in society?! Absolutely not, neither should anyone for that matter, be yourself you only live once. Anyhow the humor t’was effective crude humor that I throughly enjoyed, there are some really effective laugh out moments, including Stuart’s “Big Break” commercial as well.
Father Stu however does have a fair amount of problems. Some of the lighting in some sequences weren’t all that good. Other than the strong beginning and a good chunk of the middle: Unfortunately the end of the middle and ending was not as strong. There is pacing issues involved as it felt a lot longer than it should have, which is disappointing I will say. Plus the sequences in which we’re meant to be “powerful” didn’t really hit for me, I guess the dialogue being told wasn’t that great, especially in his final moment talking to the audience in the church. I feel like this could’ve easily been a great film, but unfortunately the end of the middle and ending was just not up to par compared to the beginning, which is disappointing some.
I say Father Stu still manages to be a pleasing film to have experience at the end of the day. It also delivers a nice wonderful message about faith and purpose especially. Also I wanted to add: I’m extremely glad this film didn’t take on the typical cliche approach, of showing flashback sequences of Stuart’s father mistreating him as a child… I feel the audience has seen that sequence WAY too many times, as I appreciated the fact it didn’t pursue that same ole cliche.
Overall, Father Stu was a fairly decent film. I recommend checking this one out, it’s a nice flick for the holiday season indeed. -Mitch Smietana