Daddy’s Home was a rather unremarkable comedy that managed to elicit a few laughs and coast on the talents of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. It also made a boatload of money and so we enter the territory of the likely unplanned sequel that often feels that way.
The concept, just as in part 1, is pretty simple. The 2015 original pitted softie stepdad Brad (Ferrell) against harder edged real dad Dusty (Wahlberg) vying for the kids attention. Part 2 finds them in a seemingly happy place as Co-Dads. That is until their papas travel to see them for Christmas. And wouldn’t you know it? They exhibit some of the opposite traits that caused Brad and Dusty their problems. John Lithgow is the squishy and overly attentive Brad dad and Mel Gibson is the alpha male and barely attentive Dusty dad. Their presence threatens to upend the recent harmony of their sons. As in the first, there’s an abundance of physical hijinks that follow… most of it directed toward Ferrell. Kids get drunk. They discover girls. Lots of father/son bonding and non bonding happens. The 1980s holiday relief anthem “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” gets more attention than it’s been granted in some time.
Like in the original Home model, the jokes here are mostly predicable and bland with a few genuinely funny parts sprinkled in. Anyone looking for sincere character motivations and real emotion in a Yuletide pic should look elsewhere. In fact, Gibson’s character is kind of an inexplicable monster when you stop and really think about it. It’s not much worth doing so.
Daddy’s Home 2 isn’t bad and neither was its predecessor. It is utterly forgettable and a little more so than what preceded it. In my review of #1, I stated that when I think of Ferrell and Wahlberg together – my mind goes to the often inspired The Other Guys. I called Daddy’s Home “The Other Movie”. This is the other other one.
** (out of four)