Director: Sean Anders
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg & Mel Gibson
Rating: 12A Duration: 98 minutes Release date: 19 March (UK)
Some films don’t need a sequel, and yet sometimes we get one anyway. Daddy’s Home did its job and made people laugh, and the result of this is that it made enough money for the studio to green light a sequel. The idea of two warring Dad’s arguing over who is the better father was a nice idea and one played sportingly by Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, but the sequel feels more like something jettisoned by a studio after a quick buck as opposed to giving the audience something they truly wanted.
That’s not to say Daddy’s Home 2 should be thought of as a bad film, because it’s not. But, it does feel by the numbers and that the freshness of what came before has gone stale.
Picking up after Daddy’s Home, the sequel finds Brad (Ferrell) and Dusty (Wahlberg) finding a balance in their relationship and generally figuring out the best way to raise all of their children. Dusty has a new girlfriend in Alessandra Ambrosio who Linda Cardellini feels increasingly jealous of. As Christmas approaches, Brad and Dusty begin to bicker over how best to celebrate the festive period. Their feelings toward each other begin to settle again until their father’s arrive in town, which brings about more stress than either of them can handle.
As far as Christmas films go Daddy’s Home 2 runs it by the book. Families fall out, children cry, someone gets drunk on eggnog, something goes wrong with the tree and putting up the lights is far more arduous than it should be. Add in an over exuberant father in John Lithgow, who insists on kissing his son on the lips and indulges in long monologues with his grandchildren who would rather be on their phones or being showered in gifts. Meanwhile, Mel Gibson is even more of an alpha than Wahlberg and twice the prick. His former space shuttle pilot is more wanna see my phd than I have a Ph.D., wanna see? Gibson’s character is written more like a cocky air force pilot rather someone who has spent their life trying to better the human race.
Wahlberg and Ferrell reignite their chemistry from the first film and have an easy likeability. Both are able to play off against each other, even when the material fails them. Director and writer Sean Anders returns, but doesn’t give the actors a whole lot to play with and some of the jokes can be seen from a mile away. Regardless of this, Daddy’s Home 2 remains a silly and entertaining film. Lithgow is good value as ever, while Gibson seems to be playing himself. Linda Cardellini and Alessandra Ambrosio have little to do, while the three young children often steal the best moments from the adults. And John Cena makes a pleasant return as Roger, Wahlberg’s nemesis. It’s daft fun, and while it doesn’t break any new ground it does provide enough laughs to make it worth your time.