Daddy’s Home 2: ‘does itself no favours’

Arriving just in time for the Christmas season, the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg-led comedy Daddy’s Home 2 hopes to recapture similar laughs as its first iteration, while adding comedy legend John Lithgow and the recently rebounding Mel Gibson as Ferrell and Whalberg’s character’s fathers, respectively, in the hopes of bringing even more family fun for the holidays.

Sadly, nothing about this sequel improves on the original. Daddy’s Home, while not without its laughs, took too much time building up its characters only to have their resolutions in the third act feel very contrived and not fully done. This problem bleeds over into the sequel as well, with Ferrell’s Brad even more wimpy, Wahlberg’s Dusty slightly more dad-like but ultimately the same and their wives even quieter. Each person fills stereotypes set up in the first film, and never really break out of them, save for maybe a scene each.

Newcomers Gibson and Lithgow work to a certain degree. Most of the solid laughs stem from Gibson interacting with Dusty’s children and stepchild, while Lithgow, who plays Brad’s father, feels kind of type casted to his normal, goofball dad role. His character gets very little screen time, character development and ultimately laughs.

More often than not, viewers seem willing to give comedies a pass on character and plot as long as what’s happening is funny. Sadly, not much of the comedy lands, and when it does, the time since the last funny joke has been so long it feels like the film is just a collection of short 5-minute clips with a good punchline at the very end. The other 4 minutes and 45 seconds are just filler lines attempting to build family drama for a horribly dull final act that finds the entire family stuck inside of a movie theatre.

Ferrell and Wahlberg, who normally have great chemistry, lose a lot of that in this film, for reasons largely stemming from the first story. The idea behind a dad coming back to his family to try and drive out a step dad is a solid narrative idea. There are chances for great satire, and these lead actors have proven they have chemistry in films like The Other Guys. However, this sequel, like its original, throws away chances to be potentially racy or satirical and instead inserts cheap, unfunny gags that only children and no viewer over the age of about 12 will appreciate.

Daddy’s Home 2 does itself no favors. The addition of Gibson proves quite funny at times, but other than that, the story is dull, the narrative resolution is even worse than the first film and ultimately everything that happens within the 98-minute runtime puts each character right back where they started at the beginning of the film. In spite of its few improvements, this film marks another forgettable entry in the long running list of comedy sequels.

Gus Hunnighake

(Image courtesy of Crosswalk)