The Family Plan
Director: Simon Cellan Jones
The Family Plan brings some laughs and action into your living room, but the story remains as predictable as it seems.
Mark Wahlberg returns to the small screen with his newest streaming movie, The Family Plan. Starting Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan, The Family Plan follows Dan Morgan’s life as an assassin turned suburban super-dad. Everything was going according to plan until Dan’s cover is blown, and the family is forced to flee across the country. The family travels from Buffalo to Vegas, unaware of their true danger.
The first 20 minutes set the tone for the rest of the movie, giving our characters a starting point and building the story in such a way that the rest of the movie didn’t require much slowing down. All four of the main protagonists have redeeming features, but the family is chaotic. Dan is stuck in a rut, overly comfortable in his suburban life. His family knows he likes his routine, but they are bored of living a cardboard cut-out life. Pair this with impending doom, and we get a great situation for a lot of character development.
By keeping the cast small, fundamentally 4 main characters and some rotating minor characters, all 4 family members are able to have some time to shine. The movie obviously focuses on Dan’s journey, but we also get to see Kyle and Nina grow into their shoes. Jessica is a pretty steady character, protective of her family and looking for more excitement in her life. Although the character doesn’t develop nearly as much as the rest, her character provides a steady hand to keep the family on track.
I thought the acting across the board was good. This isn’t an overly dramatic movie and the emotional swings aren’t huge, but I thought the cast did a good job. Mark Wallberg and Michelle Monaghan make for a great pair on screen, and the chemistry was great. To me, the most important attribute of this movie is that the family feels natural. It doesn’t feel forced or weird, it feels real. Between the writing and the acting, our family of 4 feels like a family of 4, and that’s an important win to keep this movie from falling off the deep end.
The plot of The Family Plan is both a positive and a negative. Two movie concepts, family road trip and undercover dad, are thrown together to create a fairly predictable, although enjoyable, plot. The twists and turns are kept to a minimum, and most of the audience will be able to see the next big event coming before it happens.
Albeit predictable, the plot is still fun, and I enjoyed the journey from Buffalo to Vegas. The mix of heart-warming family moments and slightly ridiculous action scenes makes for a really fun watch. The middle flowed nicely, focusing a lot on the events and less on outright building the characters. I thought the movie did a nice job of showing characteristics and the character development, without having to tell the audience what was going on.
The ending of the movie is good, with a big action scene to finish off the movie. The results and most of the events are predictable, but it’s visually engaging and the fight choreography is fun. Again, even though the finale is very, very predictable, it’s satisfying and it fits the rest of the story nicely.
The only shocking thing is the level of violence in the final scenes. It was good, very entertaining, but it kinda comes out of left field. It’s the first time we see Dan go full-assassin, and it’s about 5 minutes of highly efficient killing. It’s an interesting turn of events, but if this movie seems like it lacks violence, the ending changes that immediately.
Overall, The Family Plan is a good movie. Good acting, good story, good characters. The main downfall is that it struggles to pave its own path. You’ve seen this movie, and you will see it again in a different form with different actors. The characters and the acting provide some extra value, but this movie is not overly special. I enjoyed watching it, but you get exactly what you see. If you watch the trailer, and this seems like your jam, go check this out on Apple TV. Otherwise, I’d pass and watch a Christmas movie instead.