Despite the negative reviews by some publications, most of whom apparently couldn't recognize a good piece of family entertainment if it walked up and smacked them in the face, I saw this movie tonight and LOVED it.
I cried several times during the movie because so many of the scenes were so powerful. Yes, there are bits that could have been better; some of the dialogue and acting ran a bit to the cliched.
However, it is so much infinitely better entertainment than, say, "1000 Words," almost anything starring Adam Sandler, or whatever latest creep-fest the Coen brothers concoct, that I have to just write off the negative reports as a sad tribute to what passes for education in this country that those poor writers just don't know any better. [As an aside, I usually find that whatever movies get "C" ratings from the "professional" critics are usually much better movies than whatever they've given "A" ratings).
As for the characterization of the fathers in this picture, finally there is a movie that showed men acting like men instead of overgrown little boys who depend on the women in their lives to take care of them. These men are MEN, not overgrown toddlers - and thank heaven for something that finally gives them some respect.
My heart went out to the teenage boy in the Mitchell family as I watched him withdraw from his father, even as his father focused his attention on 9-year-old Emily. At the same time, I felt for Derrick, the boy who wanted to date Jade Hayes - he turned out to be a hero, and I thought that was exceptional. I also appreciated that the film showed these men putting themselves out for others, not just making these promises for themselves and their own families.
Overall, I was so glad I watched this movie, and I went out and bought 2 copies - one for me and one for a friend.