Film Review: Daddy’s Home 2

Comedy sequel Daddy’s Home 2 is long on the festive spirit, but short on laughs. Sean Anders’ film is not one for the books.

‘Co-dads’ Dusty and Brad agree to host a joint Christmas so the children can spend the day with both sets of parents. Their plans for a peaceful holiday are hampered by the arrival of both their fathers, however…

Written by Sean Anders and Brian Burns and directed by Anders, Daddy’s Home 2 sits in an interesting position. The film is a sequel to 2015’s Daddy’s Home, a not altogether satisfying comedy. The sequel offers less laughs than its predecessor, with the crude humour being replaced with more family-friendly fare.

Anders’ film introduces two new characters into the mix. Like Dusty and Brad, Kurt and Don are polar opposites. And like the protagonists, these two are offered flimsy characterisation. The narrative goes the way most will anticipate; old tensions start to rise between Dusty and Kurt when their families spend Christmas in a cabin.

The film attempts to provide an emotional core, but this is about as successful as the comedy. There less than five amusing gags in the film, certainly not enough to sustain viewers for over an hour and a half. Like the first film, Daddy’s Home 2 has its fair share of slapstick. This wears thin after a while, with set pieces given a cartoonish quality. The finale of the film tries to capitalise on the Christmas setting by ramping up the sentiment. The film does not engage in an emotional way, so this feels inauthentic. Whilst there is a laugh here, it is over-egged.

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play to type once again. The introduction of John Lithgow in a smart move; he is a welcome presence. Mel Gibson is less welcome however. Gibson is noticeably poor as Kurt. The close-ups of his over-the-top cackling are particularly cringe-inducing.

Daddy’s Home 2 is hopefully the last in this franchise of films. It would be great if Will Ferrell’s next comedy has consistent laughs.