Yesyou’ll have to endure smuggling from Hollywood before you get into the good bits of this Apple TV documentary. It is directed by actor, Bryce Dallas Howard, who toasts his dad friends over fatherhood. Jimmy Kimmel jokes about the moment his little girl projectile vomited in his mouth; Will Smith – his bright eyes with the kind of sincerity that only an actor at the top of his art can bring together – delivers a metaphor on fatherhood like gardening. These snippets can make you feel a little sick – but beyond them are six genuinely moving stories.
The first is the Glen Henry Home Vlogger, whose children are hilarious and ridiculously happy. The smallest goes to the camera: “Wipe. Ma. Bout. Gay dads Rob and Reece Scheer explain their decision to adopt a group of siblings of four neglected children, one of whom has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome. The profile that made me cry depicts young father Robert Selby, whose son was born with a congenital heart defect. When Robert saw his newborn baby connected to machines in the hospital, something changed. He now works at night, goes to university during the day, gets three hours of sleep, and then spends the evening with his son.
Howard weaves funny viruses throughout the film. In one, a man enters his teenage son’s bedroom with a hammer the size of Thor’s combat hammer and continues to smash the child’s game console. As the daughter of director Ron Howard, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful men in Hollywood, Howard is herself blessed in the daddies department; he is very nice here. Her only parental crime seems to have been to film the birth of her four children. But the rest of Hollywood’s contributions are irritatingly flat.