When I went to see Daddy’s Home, I hated the first part of the movie. Maybe even the first two acts. I sat in my seat thinking to myself not just whether this would make my worst movies of the year list, but exactly what number it would be. Then, something strange and unexpected happened. The third act got better, caught my interest and saved the movie. I still did not give it a great score, but my opinion changed and it avoided the worst movie of the year list.
Cue the trailers for the sequel, Daddy’s Home 2. I actually found them entertaining. I laughed several times at them and I, surprisingly, was looking forward to this film.
Brad (Will Farrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) had gotten the co-parenting thing down pat and were preparing to have an all-family Christmas together when it happened. Dusty’s obnoxious father Kurt (Mel Gibson) decided to invite himself into the mix. Throw in Brad’s over-emotional father Don (John Lithgow) and you suddenly have a severely combustible situation.
Making it even more uncomfortable, Kurt was continually trying to undermine the fragile relationship between Brad and Dusty, playing the two off each other with snarky comments and sabotage.
I have never liked Will Farrell much. Every once in a while he does something that I think is good, but the good certainly does not out weigh the bad in my opinion. This is his typical dumb comedy where, in place of intelligent or well-written dialogue or funny situations, Farrell does a pratfall or slams himself into the ground. Once you’ve seen that, it really isn’t funny again. Unfortunately, much of the best comedic parts of Daddy’s Home 2 is found in the trailers.
I do think that Farrell and John Lithgow are interesting together and this relationship could have been something that the film grabbed onto more, but it is really a side note. The storyline with the kids of the families was simply atrocious and promoted the worst examples for kids. At one point, Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) was asking about advice for girls, and Dusty told him to go shove mistletoe above her, plant his “spaghetti slurpers” on her and then slap her on the butt. In today’s world of sexual abuse and misconduct in Hollywood, a time where people like Harvey Weinstein, Andy Signore, Kevin Spacey are being brought down because of their inappropriate sexual advances toward others, to encourage that sort of behavior as something that can be funny is at best irresponsible and at worst criminal.
The comedy in this film might appeal to some. There were people in the theater I saw this film in that seemed to think this was all funny. I understand humor is subjective, but I found myself wondering exactly why these people find this obnoxious, borderline offense humor funny. Daddy’s Home 2 takes the lowest level of comedy, mean-spirited and low bow, and presents it as funny. I might have giggled a couple of times.
Mel Gibson was not funny. He was too close to real life to be funny. Plus, the character of Kurt does not earn his ending in the movie. He never gets his learning moment and the film expects you to just accept that he now wants to improve his relationship with Dusty. It came out of nowhere after making this guy the most obnoxious and cruel character in the film.
The film tried another third act come from behind here as well with a somewhat funny use of the song by Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” However, the entire situation is soooooooooooo over the top that it stretches credibility and lost me. The song itself was enjoyable to listen to and this was as close as I came to caring about anything in the movie. I wonder how many people actually know that song and does it deserve the main third act focus?
Another problem with the film is that John Cena’s character Roger shows up late in the film. The John Cena cameo was one of the best parts of the original film, but this one felt like the same old thing. Then, with the ending segment, it felt as if the film was trying to bring together Dusty and Roger, as if that was the main relationship needing to be fixed. It made no sense and it really undercut the finale. Perhaps if this was the main conflict int he whole movie, like the original kind of set up in the closing minutes, but it was not. It was tacked on to get John Cena into the film.
There are so many dumb scenes strung together ( a hunting scene, a bowling scene, the Nativity scene, a tree shopping scene) and none of the scenes had a through-line. They were all patched together for the sake of that scene’s bad joke.
There is also a post credit scene that fits perfectly with this film. It was mean and sad and made you feel depressed for poor John Lithgow. I love John Lithgow, but this was an insult to him.
Daddy’s Home 2 took all of the worst parts of the first two acts of Daddy’s Home (including, literally some of the same jokes) and crammed them into the full three act structure of this movie. The writing should have been so tighter and funnier, but there was simply nothing much here to enjoy. One more film for the bad Will Farrell list.