Daddy’s Home 2 review: Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell return for another bout of dad-based comedy, this time joined by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow.
Daddy’s Home 2 review by Benjamin Read.
Will Ferrell’s presence as a comedian and leading man in Hollywood has never been in question. But, it’s easy to see that his career has certainly taken a downward spiral since the glory days of classics like Old School and Anchorman. Despite this, the former SNL star has managed to keep his head above water with a string of moderately successful hits in the past few years. In 2015, Daddy’s Home came storming out of the gates to mixed critical reviews, but huge box office success. Now, Ferrell and frequent collaborator Mark Wahlberg return for the sequel, Daddy’s Home 2. Does it match up to the playful laughs and guilty charm of the original?
This time around, Ferrell and Wahlberg’s characters are continuing their awkward, but complacent lives, as co-dads to their children. This quickly becomes unraveled when they decide to spend Christmas together as a family, but with the added twist of inviting their own dads to the festivities. With Wahlberg’s father played by Mel Gibson, and Ferrell’s played by John Lithgow, it’s easy to see where the film is heavily leaning its comedy setup. This, of course, has been well documented in the films promotional material. But unfortunately, it doesn’t quite manage to capture its intended hilarity.
While the plot does feel like a natural jumping off point from its predecessor, the jokes are all far too forced and lack any ounce of subtlety. Ferrell feels as though he has been contractually forced to return to the film, as he delivers one of his most phoned in performances in recent years. This is a great shame, as the past two decades have shown that he is more than capable of giving charismatic, charming, comedy gold when given the right material. This could be a result of the films clear intention to shift its focus to a more family friendly area of moviegoers. This is also reflected in Wahlberg’s performance as the former ‘tough guy’ dad, relegated to a poorly written son looking for his own father’s approval.
Related: Daddy’s Home review
On the other hand, Mel Gibson appears to be the only one enjoying his role. His casting as Wahlberg’s distant, disproving lothario dad is cliched and over the top, but does provide some of the few laughs throughout the film. Of course, this is stretched to breaking point very quickly, but at just over an hour and half of run time, it’s just about tolerable. This does, however, lead to another one of the central problems with Daddy’s Home 2. In an age where female exploitation and misogyny is one of our most prevalent and alarming concerns, the film fails to address this in any way. The narrative is entirely dominated by men, and its female characters are left with embarrassingly little to do as a result. With the current track record of Hollywood in 2017, viewers could be forgiven for deciding it’s just not good enough anymore.
Overall, Daddy’s Home 2 will easily provide some light laughs and harmless festive spirit. Not to mention, a scene-stealing cameo appearance from Liam Neeson in the film’s closing moments. But, with Marvel, DC, and Paddington 2 currently dominating theatres, casual moviegoers may be more inclined to turn their attention elsewhere.
Daddy’s Home 2 review by Benjamin Read, November 2017.
Daddy’s Home 2 is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 22nd November 2017.