The previous instalment of what I hope is not a long-running franchise was perfunctory at best. But, the economics of movie-making dictate that having made a modest profit, a Daddy’s Home sequel was inevitable.
Dusty (Marky Mark) returns along with Brad (Will Ferrell) as the polar-opposite fathers doing their best to co-parent a family. Following their clash of styles and philosophies in the original movie, the two have managed to flesh out decent working relationship. Working in tandem, they have formed a cogent team providing for their kids, although Dusty’s step-daughter is still distant and surly.
As all happy families and drearily put-together sequels must, they decide to have a big consolidated Christmas, inviting Brad’s touchy-feely father Don along while Dusty’s macho alpha male Kurt invites himself to the gathering. Dusty and Brad are keen to have a perfect Christmas for their kids and Brad are keen to connect more with his and Dusty’s father, but Dusty’s distant relationship with his Dad and previously-buried resentments rear their heads as the holiday begins to deteriorate.
Daddy’s Home 2 shows a remarkably low level of ambition in its premise and execution. It’s essentially a retread of exactly the same, not hugely amusing dynamic on show on the first movie. Don and Kurt, like their sons before them, are like the proverbial chalk and cheese, and sooner rather than later, the family dynamic begins to crash and burn once more.
Much of the same jokes from the first movie are rolled out, repackaged in Christmas wrapping paper is placed in a snowy setting. It has the cursory feel of a British comedy show spin-off that’s found its way onto cinema screens, where the cast and crew have been sent on a holiday. All the same gags, all the same dynamics but with a moderately stimulating backdrop, in this case, a mountain winter wonderland.
It would all amount to something pretty ordinary if it weren’t for the troubling presence of Mel Gibson who elevates the whole thing from tedious to genuinely bizarre. With his track record of ugly personal problems, Gibson acts like a humour sponge, a laugh vacuum soaking up any mirth.
A shed-load of obvious and ham-fisted product placement doesn’t help matters. Along mid-movie scene involves half the cast pointing at a smart thermostat in a holiday cottage in glorious close-up while the second half of the movie seems to only exist because of a fortuitous AirBnB booking. It’s the sort of lazy writing that reminds you that this is not the conduit for some great comedy minds, it’s a desultory attempt to squeeze some coppers out of the pockets of bored customers.
Chris Banks |
Comedy | USA, 2017 | 12A | 22nd November 2017 (UK) | Paramount Pictures UK | Dir. Sean Anders | Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Owen Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez, John Cena