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Release Date: 12/15/23 [Apple TV+]
Genre: Action. Comedy.

Studio: Apple Original Films. 

"A former top assassin living incognito as a suburban dad must take his unsuspecting family on the run when his past catches up to him." 


Gone are the days of donning prosthetic penises for Paul Thomas Anderson, trading profanities with Damon and DiCaprio for Scorsese, and testing his limits as a performer under the volatile vision of David O. Russell for one Mark Wahlberg. Leaning further into the image overhaul of being a likable dad-type – just with, you know, bulging biceps and an 8-pack – the former Funky Buncher is as safe as can be in The Family Plan, a formulaic action/comedy/family road trip hybrid that can’t escape the stench of its “made for streaming” temperament. 

A “content” piece if ever there was one, Simon Cellen Jones’ effort aims for a more family-friendly True Lies-esque mentality as it places an action-capable Wahlberg in the centre of proceedings as Dan Morgan, a car salesman who lives the cookie-cutter life in a polished Buffalo community with his loving wife, Jessica (Michelle Monaghan), and three kids. Because Dan and Jessica are so structured in their routine – tacos on Wednesday (because everyone does it on Tuesdays) and scheduled nights for sex – it's meant to be all the more surprising when he’s shown to be a brutal assassin of sorts. Oh Dan, what have you been hiding from your family? 

No longer a boring dad – but, of course, the film takes an awfully long time for the truth to be revealed to his clan – Dan alludes to his cover being blown, and there’s rumblings of a figure known as McCaffrey (Ciaran Hinds), so he tails it to Las Vegas under the guise of a spontaneous family vacation. The kids aren’t overly impressed, but Jessica is ecstatic, if a little suspicious, and so begins what could’ve been a Vacation-meets-Mr. And Mrs. Smith-like concept actioner that fails to hit even the most basic of briefs along the way. 

Saving the majority of its action for its finale, The Family Plan suffers from an identity crisis as it has this violent undertone throughout, but David Coggeshall’s script spends so much time on family bonding and shallow drama that we lose interest by the time it adds any excitement; though, bless Monaghan, she tries her best to keep momentum as she handles herself commendably as both a concerned wife and a fierce mother protecting her kids. 

Had the film been funny across its driving and pit-stop sequences it might have received something of a pass, but every joke feels so telegraphed, and certain reveals regarding McCaffrey’s true identity hold zero emotional weight; and you know your movie isn’t in good hands when an exciting presence such as Maggie Q can’t even save you, with the actress here saddled with a thankless role that she eats up, proving further why she’s a vastly underutilised performer. 

Evidently something of a vanity project for Wahlberg – badass assassin, goofy dad and pornstar-like lover in one go? Pop off, Marky Mark! - The Family Plan is insultingly safe. If it wasn’t for the odd bout of surprising violence and sexual suggestion I would say this is at least harmful fun for the whole family, but there’s too many hopeful targets being aimed at that it ultimately fails at hitting its mark. This is one plan that should be canceled.


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