- The Family Plan is a fun action-comedy with Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Monaghan having a blast.
- The film lacks clever twists or anything that deviates from the predictable True Lies and Mr. and Mrs. Smith type tropes.
- Family Plan offers entertaining action sequences, charm, and strong on-screen chemistry between Wahlberg and Monaghan.
The last time we saw Mark Wahlberg on the big screen he was doling out inspiration as a boxer-turned-priest in Father Stu. In The Family Plan, his character Dan Morgan is praying to keep his family alive. That’s because Dan is a former government assassin. His family is clueless about his former life, but that dangerous past suddenly threatens his otherwise idyllic life in suburbia as a devoted husband, father of three, and successful car salesman.
While it’s not the most inventive premise — Prime Video’s Role Play finds Kaley Cuoco in a similar predicament and other films have dipped their creative toes into these waters (True Lies, anyone?) — The Family Plan, written by David Coggeshall (Prey), and directed by Simon Cellan Jones (The Diplomat) should suffice for a family-time movie outing. The Apple TV+ action comedy asks audiences to suspend a lot of belief, while Mark Wahlberg struts around in his element and Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible) gets a chance to show off her comedy chops and kick ass, too.
Know this: The Family Plan holds more action-comedy tropes than it does clever twists. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s Mark Wahlberg having a hell of a lot of fun. Period. We’ve sat through much worse, so best to just enjoy the fun offered here.
Who’s Your Daddy?
The title of the film refers to the savvy planning that goes into modern-day parenting. The Morgans’ teenagers, Nina (Zoe Margaret Colletti) and Kyle (Van Crosby), are active in school, and care for the couples’ infant is split between both working parents. It’s all about “the plan.” Like pops, the older kids have their own secrets. Kyle is a well-known gamer and quasi internet sensation, for instance, which he keeps hidden from his parents. But when a picture of Dan and his family find their way onto social media, Dan’s longtime cover is blown.
Cue: the movie’s signature, often fascinating action and fight sequence. It’s not a stretch to say audiences may have never experienced a scene quite like this for it takes place with an infant strapped to Wahlberg’s chest while a gaggle of assassins frantically try to kill in a supermarket. Unbelievable—literally and figuratively—because sure, assassins are merciless, but it’s hard to imagine a thug would be so vigorous in his attempt to kill somebody with a baby on board. Still, the action choreography here is above par and look—voila!—Dan’s dormant assassin skills suddenly come rushing back. Are we surprised? Is Dan? This guy is one of the hottest Zaddies in suburbia.
After said incident (which the police were curiously never called in to investigate), Dan quickly corals his family and immediately takes them on a Las Vegas-bound road trip. Dan’s former go-to is there, and he can apparently help Dan find out who wants him dead. Great ops for chase scenes throughout various parts of the country, of course, and more time for Dan to keep up appearances with his clan, who — by God! — can remain ever so deep in sleep during the most dramatic road rages.
Plan on Liking This Movie
Writer David Coggeshall is mostly known for his work in dramas and horror films. Director Simon Cellan Jones has proven himself a worthy television director. They are both in new creative arenas with The Family Plan, but their combined passion for the project is evident. Most of the scenes in the movie come alive and are vibrant, and certainly never dull, even when the filmmakers rely on action-comedy tropes more than really need to—clever premise, a burst of surprising action, a plan to solve it all.
In this outing, every Morgan family character gets their own story arc in which we see them through. Van Crosby’s gamer-boy Kyle tends to be the most interesting of the bunch yet falls into a canyon of convenience once the family hits Las Vegas. The action kicks up in Sin City, of course, luring in the likes of Ciarán Hinds (The Dry) as a sinister ringleader. Other supporting cast include the ever-busy Maggie Q (Divergent, Pivoting) who does well with what’s offered to her here.
Despite some of these predictable scenarios, there’s a surprising amount of charm in The Family Plan, which ultimately becomes its saving grace. You really can’t help but like the film. Wahlberg and Monaghan possess dazzling on-screen chemistry. Zoe Margaret Colletti and Van Crosby got the sister/brother thing down but offer something more realized with their characters. Two significant action sequences act as creative tent poles for the film. First, the supermarket scene and later, a big blow out in an abandoned Las Vegas hotel casino. The setting in the latter is perfect for the film’s climax, which, like many action films these days, may feel a bit drawn out.
At a time when most audiences are looking for a bit of levity and fun, The Family Plan will no doubt be a welcome treat. There’s enough sizzle here to sustain viewers’ appetite. But at the end of the day, maybe we can all agree that there’s always a bit of fun to be had when Mark Wahlberg does Mark Wahlberg pretending not to do Mark Wahlberg.
Catch The Family Plan on Apple TV+. Watch the trailer below.