Daddy's Home 2 Review
Just what Christmas needed, another half-baked festive sequel.
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are back as the doting daddy duo but when their fathers visit for Christmas, all hell breaks loose.Or at least I think that's meant to be the idea in this half-baked holiday season sequel. It’s about that time of year when things start getting all joyful and festive with a splash of good will unto all. The trees are up, the lights are lit, and that jolly red fellow starts appearing everywhere. And it wouldn’t be Christmas without one or two Christmassy movies. So far we’ve had Bad Moms Christmas, The Star and The Man Who Invented Christmas.
So, in an attempt to cash-in on any success it’s predecessor had, we now have Daddy’s Home 2. Oh what joy. First time around we had Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) trying to win over his step children’s hearts (Megan and Dylan) while their previously absent and biological father Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) made a come back and threw the proverbial spanner in the works. Suffice to say they worked things out and everything was hunky dory.
With any bad feeling between these two dads considered water under the bridge, Brad and Dusty are now working together as co-dads, complete with fist bumps and shared fatherly duties. Any dispute is worked out and things in both households appear to be running smoothly. Except that the young and impressionable Megan (Scarlett Estevez) is fed up having to spend her Christmas split between two households. This revelation prompts our co-dads to hatch a plan, a plan that involves both families spending Christmas together in the same place. A great idea it seems but when the news that Dusty’s dad, Kurt (Mel Gibson), will also be joining them, along with Brad’s dad, Don (John Lithgow), any preconceptions and hopes of a picture perfect family Christmas are swiftly extinguished.
Much like the set up in the first film with the two dads, both granddads are the complete opposite of each other and very much like their sons. Don is cuddly and overly affectionate, not giving his son a kiss on the lips a second thought, while Kurt is much more a jab on the shoulder type of guy, but not before he checks out the local talent. So obviously this is where the tension comes in right? Each granddad fighting for the affections of the young grand-kids, trying to win them over with treats and sweets, knocking the other grandfather’s coolness? Not quite. With Don and Brad flaunting their super tight bond, Kurt and Dusty remain distanced - each too cool to show their true feelings - and this is where the direction the film tries to go, in bringing these two hard, poker faced dudes together. But not before revealing a few home truths, attempting to pack in the laughs with some slapstick comedy and a couple of very odd cameos.
No amount of baubles or tinsel will make this turkey look any good
Daddy’s Home 2 tries to get its laughs by setting up the different types of male character and then pitting them against each other. On one side you have the sweet, kind and nurturing Brad and Don who exude love and affection and on the other we have the too cool for school, ‘keeping it real’ Dusty and Kurt. Despite the film trying to flip these stereotypes in places, in an effort to inject some element of surprise or humour, it doesn’t work. You can spot the puns and one liners a mile off resulting in a film that is predictable and formulaic and ultimately very flat. Added to the fact that everyone looks like they are desperately trying to make this film work, it all feels like a massive festive flop. Will Ferrell was once enjoyable to watch on screen but now he’s reduced to a stereotype, likewise with Wahlberg. Probably the worst thing about this film is that it goes nowhere and despite its reasonable running time of 1 hour 40 minutes, it felt twice that. The only mildly amusing scene involved a thermostat and even that only managed to muster a slight chuckle.
I can think of a number of Christmas films that I would rather spend the time and money watching that I know will guarantee a boost in your festive spirit and this is definitely not one of them. This film came close to sucking any Christmas joy I’d mustered right out of me by the time the credits were rolling, bah humbug.
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