Jacob Richardson | 06/06/2018
Consistently funny and ridiculous, if borderline stereotypical, Ideal Home is an entertaining watch.
When his father is thrown in prison for beating up a hooker, young lad Angel (Jack Gore), or Bill as he likes to be called, flees to the grandfather he has never met before. That grandfather happens to be Erasmus Brumble (Steve Coogan) - a pedantic, self-obsessed cooking show host who lives in a palatial manor that doubles as the set for his television bit. He’s in a bickering, destructive relationship with his boyfriend Paul (Paul Rudd); a relationship which comes into sharp focus when the hard partying couple find a grandson on their doorstep.
Writer / director Andrew Fleming hits all the expected narrative beats here, in a somewhat heart-warming tale of a couple learning the importance of family. But it isn’t the narrative that drives the entertainment in this piece, so much as the comedy draped on those supporting structures.
Coogan is hilarious as the fawning Brumble - constantly attempting to serve high society cuisine to a kid who just wants Taco Bell. He’s both immensely likeable and immensely distasteful. Dressed in various ridiculous outfits (“Why did you wear chaps to dinner”), and certainly more thin and luminescent than we have seen him before, Coogan embraces the idiosyncrasies of this character so much so that it is tough to recall his manner in anything else.
Rudd, meanwhile, is the foil; but a foil who is given his own moments to shine. And shine he does, bringing a slick fade, a quick wit and occasional outbursts at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. He, most of all, represents the emotional heart of the film in his relationship with Angel, and Rudd blends his dramatic chops with his comedic sensibilities excellently to deliver a world class performance.
While the humour in general isn’t as subtle as say, The Trip, it delivers it’s crass gags and OTT extravagance in relatively measured doses, and with the nuance you’d expect in a film centred around a child. There’s also a solid mix of sight gags and referential humour, which means it’s likely to be funny enough for younger audiences to consume.
There are certainly issues around promoting a child as the fix to the disastrous relationship. And there are interesting, relatively unexplored plot threads around the capacity of the child protection system in the US, the nature of gay fatherhood and the intra-family conflict when dealing with who is best placed to care for a child. At the end of the day, Ideal Home isn’t going to solve any of these problems; but it is going to make you laugh a heck of a lot in it’s 1 hour 31 minute runtime.
Ideal Home isn’t ground-breaking, but it is certainly funny. Definitely worth a watch.