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Stream It or Skip It?

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Three notable things about Netflix movie Fatherhood: It’s likely the most substantial and dynamic role for serial funnyguy Kevin Hart, a serious step away from the Ride Along and Jumanji films and his sitcom Die Hart. It’s directed by Paul Weitz, whose career launched with American Pie but subsequently found his footing in well-balanced comedies like About a Boy and Grandma (and we’ll make that assertion while stepping around Little Fockers). And finally, yes, this is a BOATS (Based On A True Story) movie, adapting Matt Logelin’s nonfiction story of single fatherhood, Two Kisses for Maddie: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Now let’s see if these elements come together in a functionable, enjoyable manner.

FATHERHOOD: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

The Gist: Matt (Hart) stands in front of a gathering in a church. They’re mourniers. He can’t seem to find the right words. “This sucks,” he says. Flashback: Matt and Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) sit in the doctor’s office. She needs a C-section — tonight. It’s early, but it can’t wait. The procedure goes well, and little Maddie is born. Liz’s parents, Marian (Alfre Woodard) and Mike (Frankie Faison), arrive to meet their granddaughter. Barely a day after the birth, Liz gets out of bed, but quickly collapses. She struggles to breathe. Matt is pushed out of the room by an orderly, and he never sees his wife alive again. Pulmonary embolism. Yes, this sucks.

After the funeral, many people, especially the mother-in-law, question Matt’s ability to raise a daughter by himself. “Extremely immature” is Marian’s personality assessment. She invites herself to stay with him and Maddie for six months, but he refuses. Well then, he should move away from his good job and good friends and go back to Minnesota, where both his and Liz’s families live. Nope. Not gonna do that either. He draws on his best buds Jordan (Lil Rel Howery) and Oscar (Anthony Carrigan) for support. Jordan goes with him to the baby store and helps him put together the crib, which is a struggle. They volley one-liners back and forth as Maddie parks in her bouncer, her head going back and forth like she’s watching Venus vs. Serena.

This ain’t easy, but Matt works through the sleepless nights and endless diapers, putting a basketball hoop above the diaper pail and putting down some threes until one splatters poo all over the backboard. He brings Maddie to work, where his kind boss (Paul Reiser) amazingly tolerates the interruption of client presentations to deal with the colicky baby. As expected, there are montages in this existence: Matt delivers punchlines when stupid people ask him where the baby’s mom is, e.g., training with NASA to be an astronaut, doing hard time, etc.; mishaps occur, like when he leaves the baby carrier, baby still in it, outside the supermarket; he fights that (expletive deleted) car seat into the car as Oscar and Jordan offer their assistance.

FIVE YEARS PASS. Maddie (Melody Hurd) is now an adorable post-toddler. There will be school. There will be blood on the playground. There will be a Kevin Hart mini-standup bit during a parent support group. There will be clashes with the mother-in-law. There will be a love interest, coincidentally also named Liz (DeWanda Wise). There will be ups and downs. There will be barf. This is fatherhood, after all.

Fatherhood (2021)
Photo: PHILIPPE BOSSE/NETFLIX © 2021

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Fatherhood is from a long line of post-Mr. Mom flicks full of diaper mishaps and they like, including Three Men and a Baby and Daddy Day Care. Hart has said in interviews that he wants the film to be a nuanced portrayal of Black fathers, and it succeeds modestly, so put it up there with Will Smith drama The Pursuit of Happyness.

Performance Worth Watching: Hart surprises precisely nobody by showing the kind of comedio-dramatic range we all know he has, and it’s plenty more than enough to carry this movie. (Frankly, he’s shown more character dynamics in his standup persona than in his movie roles.) DeWanda Wise is the film’s most charming and charismatic presence, though, and you’ll wonder why she doesn’t enjoy more substantial screen time.

Memorable Dialogue: Nice guy Paul Reiser boss commiserates with Matt on parenthood: “When you get to solid poops, it’s not a picnic.”

Sex and Skin: None.

Our Take: Fatherhood succeeds on the basic level of being a slick, earnest and watchable dramedy anchored by a strong performance from Hart — again, not a surprise, and I assert that he’s absolutely capable of bearing more weight, just like Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler before him. The supporting cast is uniformly strong as well, with Howery lending the film some comic relief, Woodard and Faison (both underrated) giving it some easy depth, Wise spicing it romantically and Hurd showing confidence and cuteness and none of the precocity of child actors in lesser films.

Hower, the screenplay, by Weitz and Dana Stevens, doesn’t match the capabilities of the cast. It adheres to formula, indulges easy and overly familiar jokes, and throws in a contrived third-act non-crisis to give the story some climactic oomph. The movie’s better when it doesn’t try to manufacture an larger arc, and just lets Hart show the struggle of selfless parenting, how fathers and mothers tend to dwell on two or three failures in the face of hundreds of wins. It evolves into a you-and-me-against-the-world kind of story complicated by the Hart character’s unwillingness to let some of the outside world in, an overreaction to the many doubters who insisted he’d never be able to do this by himself. Much of the film’s substance gets diluted by the movie’s lack of specificity, exemplified by how it addresses few of Matt’s pragmatic concerns beyond stale comedy tropes involving poop and sleeplessness. Fatherhood is likeable enough, but it doesn’t change the game for this type of movie, and it’s long past time for that to happen.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Despite its commonplace comedy and drama, Fatherhood is a sufficient crowd-pleaser driven by Hart’s ability to convey the myriad uncertainties of parenthood. It’s good enough.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Fatherhood on Netflix

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Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport

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Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’. 

The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely. 

According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored. 


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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020

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Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.

Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.

Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.

A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020.
A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.

The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.

The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.

A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.

The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.

Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.

Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.

A man holds a sign reading "The dead cannot vote" at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Trump supporters attend a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Sidney Powell spoke on efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”

Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”

Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.

But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.

In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.

“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”

Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.

In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.

Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.

Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.

Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.

As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.

Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.

But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.

Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”

To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.

But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.

As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.

In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”

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Govt to introduce important Bill, Covid situation likely to be discussed

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The government on Thursday will table ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021’ in the Lok Sabha. A discussion on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its various related aspects is also likely to take place in the lower House.


Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will move the ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill’ in the Lok Sabha to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.





Under rule 193, a discussion on Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related to it will likely take place. According to sources, the members may also raise their concern and ask for the government’s preparedness for the new Omicron variant. Under Rule 193, members can seek details about the new Covid variant. “Short duration discussion is likely to be held in the Lok Sabha on the Covid and its various aspects, including new Omicron variant,” sources said.


Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, General V.K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Rameshwar Teli and Kaushal Kishore will lay papers on the table. Reports and action reports of different standing committees will also be laid in the day.


The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2021 (ART) by voice vote as the amendments moved by the DMK MP N.K. Prem Chandran, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut were negated. The ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.


The opposition is likely to continue to raise its voices on price rise, unemployment and extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in some states. The opposition parties are also demanding a law guaranteeing the minimum support price (MSP).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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