Release: 19th March 2018
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
In the sequel to the 2015 global smash, father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and stepfather Brad (Will Ferrell) have joined forces to provide their kids with the perfect Christmas. Their newfound partnership is put to the test when Dusty’s old-school, macho Dad (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s gentle Dad (John Lithgow) arrive just in time to turn the holidays upside down.
Will Ferrell. It is a name that once sent a jolt of excitement through the world of comedy. It was a name synonymous with raucous, unforgettable, bombastic brilliance. Now it is a euphemism for ‘Adam Sandler 2.0’. When Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teamed up in 2015 for the mild mirth inducement of Daddy’s Home, a sequel was hardly in the offering. Alas, Paramount Pictures found 300 million reasons at the box office to greenlight a follow up. To this end, Daddy’s Home 2 snuck a breath of life.
The following sentence is one that, going in to the film, I hardly expected to be writing, but; Daddy’s Home 2 might well be the best Will Ferrell film in a long while. I repeat; Daddy’s Home 2 is actually pretty good fun.
As a starter for ten, there is an actual plot. This is the common kryptonite of many a mid-card comedy (let alone a Christmas movie). However, writer Brian Burns has managed to concoct a story of some substance. This means that beyond the jokes and foolhardy slapstick, is some character development (albeit a very timid example), and a narrative to follow. The layers are that of parent / child relationships, the nuanced difficulties of co-parenting, and the ever oppressive need many parents feel to be the ‘model’ mum or dad. John Lithgow and Linda Cardellini get the bulk of the attention as Brad’s blissfully eccentric father Don, and neurotic long suffering wife Sara. Both players have the largest burden of carrying the film’s themes (and do a wonderful job), with Mel Gibson (an equally well cast ‘Dad’) playing second fiddle, flitting in and out of focus as, ironically, the absentee father to Mark Wahlberg’s Dusty.
Obviously Daddy’s Home 2 is not top quality material. It is ridiculous, and in some places rather unbearable (we could all do without the musical number), but it never pretends to be anything other than broad folly. Taken as such, one might actually enjoy the ludicrous set ups and man-child banter of Brad and Dusty. From passive aggressive convos about snickerdoodles to a running joke about thermostats, minimal snobbery will result in maximum benefit. Even a potentially stupid sequence surrounding a cell phone tower lands rather well; with a knowing follow-up gag about the often ignored financial implications behind slapstick comedy.
If seeing the great John Lithgow on top form is not enough to reel you in, then consider this. It is highly unlikely there will be a third instalment of Daddy’s Home, so we should probably celebrate the fact that Daddy’s Home 2 has not only done the unthinkable of making Will Ferrell funny again, but also achieved the even more improbable task of being better than its predecessor.
Film Grade: C
There are bunch of Making Ofs that also serve as EPKs, but they are all pretty fun and informative. The Deleted Scenes range from the pointless to the humorous. The Gag Reel is ironically the least funny thing you’ll find on the whole blu-ray.
Special Features Grade: C+
Some great casting (sans Alessandra Ambrosio) only serves to improve this wild card sequel. It’s hardly Home Alone, but Daddy’s Home 2 will make a nice addition to your Christmas movie watchlist.