The Family Plan
You should "Plan" on watching this diverting action-comedy with the whole "Family."
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I was skeptical going into the Mark Wahlberg action-comedy “The Family Plan” (now streaming on Apple TV+), but am happy to report the flick is a pleasant surprise.
Wahlberg stars as Buffalo, N.Y.-based used car salesman and family man Dan Morgan. He’s married to his physical therapist wife Jessica (a game Michelle Monaghan) and they’re parents to free-spirited teenage daughter Nina (Zoe Colletti), avid, pseudo-celebrity gamer son Kyle (Van Crosby) and 10-month-old baby Max (Iliana Norris, Vienna Norris).
There’s more to Dan than meets the eye however. Turns out he’s a former government assassin who was tasked with taking out the world’s trash. Dan turned his back on this life when he met Jessica, but his long-standing cover has been blown. This prompts Dan’s former handler and father figure McCaffrey (Ciarán Hinds) to sick his gaggle of goons (played by the likes of Felicia Pearson (she was Snoop on “The Wire”) and badass martial artist and stuntman Lateef Crowder Dos Santos) on his protégé.
Dan takes it upon himself to reach out to his former quartermaster Augie (Saïd Taghmaoui, reuniting with Wahlberg 24 years after playing his Michael Jackson-obsessed interrogator in David O. Russell’s “Three Kings”) in hopes that he’ll give his family new identities and accompanying identification. The men agree to rendezvous in Las Vegas.
Dan loads his clan into their Honda Odyssey minivan under the cover of a family road trip to Sin City complete with a pit stop in Iowa to visit Nina’s obnoxious, older boyfriend Trevor (Colby Burton) at college.
“The Family Plan” calls to mind movies along the lines of “True Lies” (complete with Maggie Q tackling the Tia Carrere role) and “Nobody.” It’s not as good as those films, but that’s not to say it’s not without its charms. As helmed by British television director Simon Cellan Jones (who might be becoming Wahlberg’s new Russell or Peter Berg as the men already have another project entitled “Arthur the King” dropping early next year) and scripted by David Coggeshall (he co-wrote and co-produced last year’s campy horror prequel “Orphan: First Kill”) the flick is serviceable fun. It’s funny, but not overly so. There’s action, but it’s not wall-to-wall. It’s predictable (you know how the family’s visit to Trevor will go prior to their arrival, you know there’s more to Q’s character the second you see her), but entertaining.
The best reason to check out “The Family Plan” is Monaghan’s performance. She and Wahlberg have an easy, natural, sexy chemistry. Monaghan’s entirely appealing as the Morgan family matriarch and her work is a stirring reminder of why she appeared in so many things during the aughts and 2010s. It’s also refreshing to see a woman of her age (she’s 47) being presented as cool, desirable and kick-ass amid youth-obsessed Hollywood.
I’d argue “The Family Plan” is best enjoyed by pretending it’s a 25-years-later sequel to Wahlberg’s earlier action-comedy “The Big Hit.” It’s a diverting enough watch for a Friday or Saturday night that should appeal to most, if not all, members of your family.