Kristen Bell, left, and Kelsey Grammer in a scene from “Like Father.” Netflix photo

There’s Frasier Crane. I know Frasier, who doesn’t? And we like Frasier.

And there is the “marshmallow” herself, the lovable Kristin Bell (“The Good Place,” “Veronica Mars”).

But who are all these other people? I recognize Rogen, but that’s Seth’s wife now writing and directing. It turns out that these unknowns keep this movie moving. Unknowns often do such a thing. Clark Gable was once an unknown.

In writer/director Lauren Miller Rogen’s Netflix box of rom-com, sit-com, something else-coms, we are treated to a good idea wasted. She calls it “Like Father.”

Let’s get the granules out of the way.

We open at an upscale Republican-style wedding somewhere outside of Manhattan, in a countryside church where a workaholic Gen Xer Rachel (Bell), in full white-on-white wedding dress, is on her iPhone doing business with a new client, a country couple who make potato chips. Never mind.

A bridesmaid rushes into her room to pull her down to the altar, where the crowd and her groom-to-be have been waiting impatiently for her entrance.

Rachel comes to the altar and as the groom is about to reply to the “do you take this woman” question, Rachel’s cell falls to the floor and we and the wedding party hear the potato chip voices.


The new groom is astonished and repelled. He takes a dramatic pass, leaving Rachel at the altar.

Now, as this is not a “Next Gen” flick from Steve McQueen or Kevin Feige release, let me give you a TV Guide break down, to save you time.

A well-dressed older man at the wedding watches in horror and later tracks her down. He is Harry, (Kelsey Grammer) the father who abandoned his wife and Rachel 20 years ago. We find this out later and still don’t care.

Harry follows the shocked Rachel home, talks her into a having a drink together and make amends.

The drink turns into a whole bar full of them and they fall into a drunken stupor.

Would you believe it if I told you that they wake up the next morning on a Royal Caribbean cruise line mega ship, the one Rachel and her groom had booked for a two week Caribbean cruise? You would? You’ve been watching too many rom-coms.

Hung over and well out into the ocean, Harry and daughter have to make, for our entertainment, the best of it.

Story teller-director Rogen gamely continues, providing all of with a table full of pure sit-com companions: an older couple, cute and sweet, an overweight diabetic African American and his wife, and wouldn’t you know it, a cute gay couple, one of whom is a newly minted shrink. Everyone but a cute puppy.

Wait a minute, there’s more. Rachel, trying not to fight with dad, goes to the bar and who do you think is there? Seth Rogen, hubby to the director.

With funny man Rogen playing a recently divorced bumbler, we hope for some hilarious stoner comedy.

But alas, Rogen’s character doesn’t chew gummies. Not only that, after a jungle pool party, Rogen departs the movie. Smart move.

Now, we’re treated to an hour of ship party games, costume gags and more booze.

“Like Father” has a 40’s style finale.

I won’t disclose the ending, but you’ll be glad it does have one.


J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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