The name’s Morgan ... Dan Morgan.
Okay, that’s not really a line from the new Mark Wahlberg movie, but it fits the theme. Apple TV+ released the trailer for its latest comedy flick “The Family Plan.”
And Wahlberg plays a family man with suburban dad energy and a secret: Dan Morgan.
“Dan Morgan (Mark Wahlberg) loves his quiet suburban life as a devoted husband, father of three and successful car salesman. But that’s only half the story,” a press release sent to Deseret News said. “Decades earlier, he was an elite government assassin tasked with eliminating the world’s deadliest threats.”
Under threat from nemeses of his past life, Morgan springs into action and ushers his wife, teen daughter, teen son and 10-month-old baby into a spontaneous road trip across the country to Las Vegas.
‘The Family Plan’ cast and release date
Directed by Simon Cellan Jones and starring Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, Zoe Colletti, Van Crosby and others, “The Family Plan” is slated for a Dec. 15 release.
“As you can tell by the trailer, Mark Wahlberg’s average dad has a past that comes back to haunt him, forcing him to take his brood on a hilarious family road trip to Vegas,” Cellan Jones said in a press release. “All I can say is this is pretty much the most fun I have ever had making a movie. Fasten your seatbelts!”
The trailer pays homage to Wahlberg’s alter ego Marky Mark, as Greg Evans pointed out in an article for Deadline. “The situation provides ample opportunity for lots of jokes about how incredulous the children are regarding their uncool dad’s formerly cool persona.” That’s an ironic twist.
Dramatic irony about Wahlberg aside, he’s evolved as an actor to the point where he’s picked up some credits in faith and family movies.
Wahlberg on faith and in family movies
The most recent example of a movie like this was “Father Stu.” According to Variety, Wahlberg partially funded the project. “Let’s just say I put millions and millions of dollars into the film — and then incurring other costs because we went over schedule in production, and there are clearances for the music.”
“God needed a fighter, and He found one. Father Stu is based on the true-life story of boxer-turned-priest, Father Stuart Long, whose journey from self-destruction to redemption inspired countless people along the way,” the film’s synopsis said on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film’s audience score (95%) far outpaced the critics score (42%) on Rotten Tomatoes.
The critics consensus, per Rotten Tomatoes, was “Mark Wahlberg is hard-working but miscast in ‘Father Stu,’ an issue compounded by the way the movie fumbles its fact-based story.” While the audience consensus was, “A fact-based movie with a big heart, ‘Father Stu’ has a terrific cast and a message that’s almost guaranteed to move you.”
Then, there was the film directed by Sean Anders, “Instant Family.” In it, Wahlberg plays Pete Wagner, who is married to Ellie (Rose Byrne). The couple enrolls in foster care as part of their path to adopting children.
The movie received generally positive critics reviews, with an 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“‘Instant Family’ is a better movie than the commercials suggest because it’s more than what the commercials suggest. The laughs are sometimes silly, but often come as moments of relief that the family has made it through something tough,” Kristen Page-Kirby wrote for The Washington Post. “The emotional scenes — both happy and sad — are genuinely emotional. The dark moments are genuinely dark.”
Wahlberg and the Hallow app
In addition to his film credits, Wahlberg has participated in several videos with the Hallow app — an app devoted to prayer. The partnership started when “Father Stu” debuted.
“Prayer is at the center of this movie and Father Stu’s life. I’m thrilled to partner with Hallow to share some of the audio from the film and even some of Father Stu’s favorite prayers,” he said on the Hallow website.
Since then, Wahlberg and Hallow have collaborated on other videos. He’s increasingly stood out as one of the more prominent actors in Hollywood who talks about faith.
“I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith. That’s an even bigger sin,” Wahlberg told Today. “You know, it’s not popular in my industry, but I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. But, I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so it’s important to respect and honor them as well.”