Daddy's Home 2 (PG)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson
Directed by Sean Anders
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell were very funny in the buddy-cop send-up The Other Guys, but less so when they reteamed for the holiday comedy Daddy’s Home, playing rival father figures. While there’s no sign of The Other Guys 2, we have to put up with another perfunctory collab — Daddy’s Home 2, the imaginatively-tited sequel no one but the studio wanted. (Not unlike the joyless A Bad Moms Christmas.)
This time, mild-mannered radio exec Brad (Ferrell) and his wife’s bad boy ex-hubby Dusty (Wahlberg) are swell buds. But will their respective pops get along just as swimmingly? Mel Gibson — a Hollywood pariah no more? — stars as Kurt, Dusty’s father, an old-school Alpha Male whose yearbook superlative probably reads “the guy most likely to be fired for inappropriate workplace behaviour”. Elsewhere, John Lithgow plays Don, Brad’s touchy-feely padre whose yearbook superlative probably reads “the guy most likely to be punched by someone like Kurt”.
Together, the overqualified cast is engaged in a series of underwhelming, sitcom-y hijinks involving a thermostat, festive décor, and illegal tree-cutting, and, just when you think it can’t get any worse, a butchered cover version of Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. But it isn’t a total downer: John Cena, reprising his role as the ex of Dusty’s wife (Alessandra Ambriosio), is a hoot. That, and a gag about a faux Yuletide-themed action flick starring Liam Neeson called — wait for it — Missile Tow. That sounds like a safer bet. (**1/2)