Will Ferrell isn’t great at picking which of his movies to give the sequel treatment. Anchorman 2 was too much sequel, Zoolander 2 was a misguided mess, and now he can add Daddy’s Home 2 to the list of blunders.Unlike Ferrell’s Christmas classic Elf, his latest yuletide offering is the cinematic equivalent of a lump of coal from Santa.
We all would have preferred a sequel to the Ferrell/Wahlberg action comedy The Other Guys, but their reunion with Daddy’s Home managed a few cheap laughs and a mighty box office. Naturally, a sequel was fast-tracked with added Dads, and last year Daddy’s Home 2 washed up into cinemas.
Plot-wise, the blended families opt for a shared Christmas, and this time, the dads are bringing their dads. Comedy sequels are an entirely different beast to your standard franchise, The Hangover proved that more of the same doesn’t work while Jump Street showed us how it can be done. Expectations for Daddy’s Home 2 were low, I knew this wasn’t going to be a new festive favourite. However, the presence of John Lithgow as Ferrell’s emotionally open Dad was enough to get me to invest 100 minutes. I want them back.
Ferrell and Lithgow muster a few chuckles, but charisma vacuum Mel Gibson as Wahlberg’s gruff father makes for frequently uncomfortable viewing (jokes about prostitutes, how festive). I understand that Hollywood has welcomed Gibson back into the fold, but family-friendly light comedy is no place for him the mount an acting comeback.
To its credit, Daddy’s Home 2 did get one genuinely crying with laughter moment from me, but I’m not sure it was intended. Towards the end of the film, they all start singing the most painful version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” you have ever heard. Seriously.
Ultimately, Daddy’s Home 2 sticks to a tried and tested formula for family-friendly comedies; there is nothing original or even that funny about, but younger viewers might enjoy the bits when people fall over.