Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio, John Cena, Owen Wilder Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez
Written by: Sean Anders, John Morris and (based on the characters created) Brian Burns
Running Time: 100 mins
Release date: 22nd November 2017
Mark Wahlberg recently came out to apologise for his past movie choices, which included the excellent Boogie Nights. Maybe this was a trick to distract attention away from Daddy’s Home 2, a film that he really needs to apologise for. Categorised as a comedy, this is a misjudged, ill-conceived sequel set at Christmas which brought very little goodwill to all men. If this was a present, I would return it immediately.
Brad and Dusty, the stepfathers, have come to an agreement that they are co-dads to the kids and seem to be following the same rules and ideas. The only thing they haven’t agreed with is where do the kids stay at Christmas. They decide to have a Together Christmas. A perfect plan until both Brad and Dusty’s fathers turn up. Don, Brad’s dad, is a chatty, caring man who loves his son so much, they greet by kissing each other on the lips, while Dusty’s father, Kurt, a former astronaut, is tough, gruff and ridicules his son. They decide to spend their holiday in a mountain retreat but will the fathers all bond?
Quite frankly, I didn’t care. This is made up of a series of disjointed sequences which are allegedly comedic sketches but none of the gags hit their proposed targets, thanks to some very badly timed slapstick, obvious humour that has the punchline being telegraphed miles in advanced and some very poor taste moments that just left me wondering if comedy had seriously died.
A coherent story or any form of plot and character development is ignored for routines in which Brad falls down, says something wimpy or is attacked or injured, while Dusty stands looking at him as if he is the biggest fool in the world and, to be honest, there is no way on earth these guys would ever spend five minutes in each other’s company. Thrown into the mix are the grandparents who, like their sons, are chalk and cheese. Brad’s father, dressed in a red jumper so he can stand out in crowds (even though he towers over everyone) and who likes to talk all the time, does become tiresome pretty quickly while Dusty’s tough old man just scoffs, while acting like a teenager, going off with any young woman he meets, which in this time of accusations of sexual harassment seems pretty near the knuckle.
You know when the humour is getting as desperate as it can be when a sequence involves a small child being encouraged to shoot turkeys with a rifle. How we all laughed at the screening I attended when she accidentally shoots one of the main characters and then goes on an all-out shooting craze. Comedy gold in a time when people are screaming anti-gun laws!
The performances from the starry cast go from bad to downright terrible. Will Ferrell, who I like, is in annoying mode and running around like a middle-aged man desperately trying to hold onto his career. Mark Wahlberg spends the time with one facial expression. Mel Gibson, who at one point is called “beautiful” and we are supposed to believe is a former space shuttle pilot! grunts and scoffs throughout, which leaves John Lithgow, a talented actor who won huge critical success as Winston Churchill in The Crown and who has been in everyone’s favourite films ever, just looks embarrassed and I don’t blame him.
Daddy’s Home 2 is a sorry excuse for a comedy that tries to bring the spirit of Christmas but just leaves you wanting to hit the spirit. It is mean, nasty and when the final scene arrives in which the company, stranded in a foyer in a cinema on Christmas Day and being told they have everything to make a terrific day, snacks, drinks, then singing a rousing chorus of Do They Know It’s Christmas, I realised there and then that the makers really don’t care about anything but making money because the last film was a success. If the Emoji Movie didn’t exist, this would have been my worst film of the year! Pass me that copy of Boogie Nights. I need cheering up!