Director Sean Anders’s film Daddy’s Home (2015) was a shocking surprise. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell had already proven their comedic teamwork with The Other Guys (2010), but the hopes weren’t high for their comedy implemented in a family setting. Ander’s managed to get enough laughs in the film that a sequel was inevitable. Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) takes the family comedy, throws in the magic of Christmas, and the dads’ dads in an effort to repeat history. For the most part, there is enough here to make the film enjoyable to many, with plenty to make certain audiences dislike it.
Review of Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) by Jonathan Berk
Brad (Ferrell) and Dusty (Wahlberg) are “co-dads”, as Brad married Sara (Linda Cardellini) who is Dusty’s ex-wife and mother of their two children. After a rough start, the two have found an equilibrium in their roles as father and step-father, but Dusty’s father, Kurt (Mel Gibson) threatens to up-end all they’ve started when he interjects himself into their Christmas plans. Brad’s relationship with his dad, Don (John Lithgow), only emphasizes the distance between Kurt and the more progressive lifestyles the family has established, making the holiday season a bit uneasy.
The elephant in the film is Gibson, and his on-screen character mirroring his off-screen persona a bit too much. He’s a male chauvinist, as evidenced by his character even going as far as to say that the men kill the animals, and the women cook what they kill. The movie doesn’t let this injustice stand, and most of his machismo is shut down by someone else in the film…but it could be enough to take an audience out. The first thing we see Kurt do is to stare down a couple of women going up the escalator before he begins judging the more feminine Brad. His charm remains strong, and while the movie does imply that his behavior is wrong, there are definitely moments in the film that contradict this point.
If Kurt doesn’t manage to make your skin crawl out of the theater, then perhaps you’ll find some joy in the physical comedy the film offers. Brad takes the brunt of the falls and is the butt of most of the jokes (one of those contradictions mentioned earlier). Despite that, there is something that works with Wahlberg and Ferrell, and John Lithgow does some great work in the film as well. Unfortunately, the female characters and the children – which are what the premise of the movie is really about – take a back seat to the male personalities on the screen.
Daddy’s Home 2 didn’t quite elicit the same amount of laughs the first film did, which is likely the result of Hannibal Burress not being in the sequel. Gibson should probably take a more humbling role in his next attempt to regain his place in the film industry, rather than showcasing his embarrassing sexist past. Daddy’s Home 2 earns the Decent Watch rating.