Dads review – stars report from the frontline of fatherhood | Documentary films

You’ll need to stomach some Hollywood smuggery before getting to the good bits in this Apple TV documentary. It’s directed by the actor, Bryce Dallas Howard, who grills her celebrity-dad pals about fatherhood. Jimmy Kimmel jokingly re-enacts the moment his baby daughter projectile vomited into his mouth; Will Smith – his eyes shining with the kind of sincerity only an actor at the top of his game can muster – delivers a metaphor about fatherhood being like gardening. These snippets may make you feel a bit sick – but beyond them are six genuinely moving stories.

First up is stay-at-home-dad vlogger Glen Henry, whose children are hilarious and ridiculously happy. The littlest toddles over to the camera: “Wipe. My. Butt.” Gay dads Rob and Reece Scheer explain their decision to adopt a sibling group of four neglected children, one with a diagnosis of foetal alcohol syndrome. The profile that made me cry features young father Robert Selby whose son was born with a congenital heart defect. The moment Robert saw his newborn baby hooked up to machines in hospital, something changed. He now works nights, goes to college during the day, grabs three hours’ sleep, then spends evenings with his son.

Howard weaves in viral funnies throughout the movie. In one a man walks into his teenage son’s bedroom with a mallet the size of Thor’s battle hammer and proceeds to smash the kid’s game console to smithereens. As the daughter of director Ron Howard, widely regarded as one of nicest men in Hollywood, Howard is herself blessed in the dad department; he is very likable here. His only parenting crime seems to have been to film the birth of all four of his kids. But the rest of the Hollywood contributions are irritatingly platitudinous.

• Dads is available on Apple TV from 19 June.

Source: The Guardian

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