Review | "Daddy's Home 2" (2017)
No one is ever going to mistake either of the Daddy's Home movies for great filmmaking. The first was a rather rote, if occasionally amusing, slapstick comedy about a mild-mannered stepdad (Will Farrell) learning to coexist with the tough-guy biological father of his stepchildren (Mark Wahlberg). It wasn't a major hit, so a the prospect of a sequel was something of a surprise, not to mention somewhat unnecessary. But in the end it manages to justify its own existence, and even provides a few laughs along the way.
Daddy's Home 2 is a marked improvement on its predecessor, mostly thanks to the presence of Gibson and Lithgow, who gamely dive into the film's silliness. It retain's some of the original film's over-the-top slapstick, but wisely scales it back, focusing instead on more character-driven comedy courtesy of its almost overqualified cast (a bit involving the dads' obsession with keeping the thermostat turned is especially inspired). The script is still a problem, throwing in contemporary buzzwords like "snowflake" in at awkward attempt at being cool, but instead comes across like a lame dad trying to impress the kids with some slang he just heard.
Like most comedies, it's hit or miss. Some jokes land, others don't, but Daddy's Home 2 coasts by on a modicum of charm and a capable cast. Gibson and Lithgow make terrific foils for Farrell and Wahlberg, and their presence provides a major boost for an otherwise mid-grade comedy. It's a rare comedy sequel that actually surpasses the original (although the original wasn't particularly great in the first place), and expands on its premise just enough to make this a world worth revisiting.
GRADE - ★★½ (out of four)
DADDY'S HOME 2 | Directed by Sean Anders | Stars Will Farrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson, John Cena | Rated PG-13 for suggestive material and some language | Opens Friday, Nov. 10, in theaters everywhere.