Mark Reviews Movies

Daddy's Home Two


1 Star (out of 4)

Director: Sean Anders

Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson, Linda Cardellini, Owen Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez, Alessandra Ambrosio, Didi Costine, John Cena

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for suggestive material and some language)

Running Time: 1:40

Release Date: 11/10/17

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Review by Mark Dujsik | November 10, 2017

This time around, at least someone points out that Brad (Will Ferrell) is an idiot. Daddy's Home had him doing some pretty stupid things, but he outdoes himself here, pouring hot cocoa on himself for no reason and holding on to a running snow blower as it carries him up to the roof of a house. You might be asking how that second thing happens. The only appropriate answer is, perhaps, to explain how Brad is reintroduced in Daddy's Home Two: He narrowly avoids being kicked in the head by a kid on a swing, steps out of the way, and, after being hit in the face by a tetherball, walks right back into the path of the swinging kid, who proceeds to kick him in the head.

They can't teach this level of fundamental incompetence. At a certain point, one wonders how Brad manages to dress himself every morning, without getting his head stuck in the sleeve of his shirt and tripping on his half-raised pants. There's always the possibility of another sequel.

In the meantime, this one is about as hastily stitched-together as a rush-job sequel can be. Brad and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) have gotten into the groove of being "co-dads." As you may recall from the first movie, Brad married Sara (Linda Cardellini), Dusty's ex-wife, and became a stepfather to her and Dusty's two kids. This didn't go over well with Dusty, a mostly absentee father who only started taking an interest in his family when another man started stepping into his former role. There was a lot of fighting and intimidation, and there were plenty of pratfalls.

Apparently unwilling or unable to think of anything new to do with these characters, returning screenwriters Sean Anders, who also directed, and John Morris have recycled the old formula, while tossing in a couple of new but very familiar ingredients to keep it from looking too much of a rehash. The new parts are the fathers of Brad and Dusty, who are basically older and slightly more eccentric mirror images of their offspring.

Dusty's father Kurt (Mel Gibson) is a tough S.O.B. with no patience for anything that seems sentimental, caring, or decent. He's also a retired astronaut, which is a detail that seems to have been pulled from a hat filled with really cool jobs that a character like Kurt could have had. Meanwhile, Brad's dad Don (John Lithgow) is an overly affectionate, touchy-feely kind of guy, who intentionally flies with as many layovers as possible, because that means he'll have more opportunities to meet new people. He and Brad greet each other with long kisses on the mouth, emphasized by "Mmm"s and smacks.

Kurt loathes Brad, Don, and what his own son has become. Dusty is convinced that his father will try to sabotage the bond that he and Brad have developed in being fathers to Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez). The extended family takes a Christmas vacation to a fancy rental cottage, where all of the old conflicts return.

These are pretty much the jokes, folks. We've seen them already, and whatever material the two new characters bring here is repeated so often that it starts to feel as if we've already seen that stuff, too. We pretty much have, after all, since Kurt and Don aren't much more than heightened versions of Dusty and Brad. The inevitable, sentimental angle comes from the details that Kurt is a womanizer, who missed out on Dusty's life by chasing women, and that Don is having marital problems.

Before the story gets gushy, there are plenty of fights and chaos. The chaos mostly comes from Brad's inability to do even the most basic things without turning them into over-the-top sight gags. The fights are mostly physical, from Dusty and Kurt getting into a brawl in a hospital room to a snowball fight that breaks out when Roger (John Cena), the ex-husband of Dusty's wife and the father of his stepdaughter, arrives with his own, familiar anger issues. As for Dusty's new wife (played by Alessandra Ambrosio) and stepdaughter (played by Didi Costine), they're basically background players, always busy with a notepad and a phone respectively—lest the screenwriters attempt to figure out something to do with characters who don't allow them to copy what they've already done.

Some of Daddy's Home Two comes across as unnecessarily angry, which goes against the movie's already-firmly-established lesson about family. If everything else here is just replicated from what's come before it, you'd better believe that lesson is, too. There is a slight difference: It wasn't convincing the first time, but it's really not convincing this time.

Copyright © 2017 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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