If Bad Moms 2 was the disappointing cousin to its original, then Daddy’s Home 2 is the obnoxious, slothlike Uncle that everyone hates to its predecessor. Easily one of the unfunniest, laziest and most cynical exercises in cinema this year, the added crime here is bringing in such heavy weight talent and wasting all of it. Dire.
Granted, Daddy’s Home was a divisive comedy that used the framework of a wholesome family comedy and irked it with co-writer/director Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home, Sex Drive) hapless flutterings of sexism, toxic masculinity and misogyny. Still, the film was a box office smash and here we are in the grips of its sequel less than 2 years later.
Taking the same leaf as Bad Moms 2, Daddy’s Home 2 is framed around Christmas where our now symbiotic dads Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) are preparing for Yuletide by inviting their fathers along in the form of Kurt (Mel Gibson) and Don (John Lithgow). It’s a case of Like Father Like Son as Kurt, the thuggish, alpha male dad is challenged by the softer styles of Don, Brad and his now more understanding Dusty. And all of this plays out in front of the children and the all but completely wallpaper only presence of wife/ex-wife Sara (Linda Cardellini). Further complications arise with the introduction of Roger (John Cena), the biological father of one of the kids in play.
Working from a screenplay co-written by John Morris (Daddy’s Home), Anders severe lack of ambition is in full flight here. There’s little to no resonance to any of the characters. Ferrell does manic Ferrell with a telegraphed performance that looks as tired as the tropes he’s walking through. Wahlberg comes off even worse, pervasively flat in all his sequences whilst the real crime is the wasting of Mel Gibson – he’s better than this, he’s funnier than this, and he looks totally bored out of his mind. Even John Lithgow’s snag Don is a one note nance of a character, cynically constructed to be ridiculed as the ever oppressive toxic notion that ‘men should be men’.
Women are entirely sidelined throughout outside of moralistic motherly cues and being ogled at (because, in this world, that’s all women are good for). Any form of real exploration into being a father of the now against the father of the old, which is where this film really should’ve mined its comedy and drama, is laid waste to overlong, seemingly heavily improvised Saturday Night Live level bad comedy sketches that just don’t land. The film feels lazy, it’s badly lit, tacked together and uninspired.
Flimsy, forgettable and gratingly unfunny, Daddy’s Home 2 is the very definition of just doing it for the money.
DADDY’S HOME 2 releases NATIONALLY 23 NOVEMBER, 2017