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Review: Daddy's Home 2

Daddy's Home 2
6 10

PLOT: Newly reconciled co-dads, Brad and Dusty (Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg) opt for a “together Christmas” to celebrate the blending of their two families, but their event is threatened by the arrival of their domineering fathers (John Lithgow & Mel Gibson).

REVIEW: While I wasn’t a fan of the first DADDY’S HOME or comedy sequels in general (how many of them are actually good?), I must admit to being curious about this particular follow-up for one reason: Mel Gibson. Who would have ever thought the day would come that Mel Gibson would be reestablished enough to co-star in a family comedy? With him having spent so much time away from the mainstream, doing his own thing with the amazing HACKSAW RIDGE and the criminally underrated BLOOD FATHER, and still a highly controversial figure, how would he blend in?

Whatever your thoughts about him may be, one has to give him some credit for giving DADDY’S HOME 2 his all – at least a lot more than stars Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Both of them are on autopilot, but Gibson, perhaps sensing this could be a step back into studio films, throws himself into it. Throughout the admittedly lame yarn, he pokes fun at his notoriety, with the film acknowledging his troubles by having him play a guy that’s pretty tough to love at times. He’s playing a dad who can’t bring himself to say “I love you” to his son, constantly mocks Ferrell for not being manly enough, tries to get his grandson interested in firearms, hunting and girls, and hits on every woman he sees. Yet, they’ve got enough affection for him to allow a certain roguish sweetness to sink in that harkens back to the old, pre-arrest Mel – although it’s remains to be seen if audiences will accept him in the kind of part he might have played back in 2003.

Otherwise, DADDY’S HOME is your standard sequel. All the beats from the original are covered, with Wahlberg and Ferrell quickly going back into their rival dad routine. What makes this a tough watch at times is the sickly sweet holiday sentiment they’ve allowed to seep in, complete with sing-alongs and an oddball finale that serves as a testimonial to the glory of seeing movies in theaters.

This is formula stuff for the two leads, with Wahlberg lately being far better served by serious fare, and Ferrell getting too long-in-the-tooth for his man-child routine. Linda Cardellini doesn’t get to participate in the comedy too much, once again playing the straight woman, which is a shame. John Lithgow has fun as Ferrell’s too wimpy dad, and him and Gibson play off each other nicely. Lithgow, at times, seems to be channeling Dick Solomon from “3rd Rock from the Sun”. It’s interesting that other than Gibson, the other really funny alpha male in DADDY’S HOME 2 is John Cena, as the ex-husband of Wahlberg’s new wife. While he’s in it too little, the hulking Cena once again displays a knack for comedy, acing throwaway lines, such as his brief ode to Band Aid’s “Don’t They Know It’s Christmas”.

In the end, DADDY’S HOME 2 is an odd duck. It’s not especially funny and there’s certainly something odd about seeing Gibson headlining a family comedy – yet he’s undoubtedly the best thing about it. It’s fairly harmless as far as these things go, and Gibson, Lithgow and Cena wring a few laughs out of the tired formula. It’s not a great comedy, but it says something about how dire the landscape is when “just ok” or “not awful” is good enough.


Source: JoBlo.com

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