Christian Ziolkowski ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Movies Staff Writer
Daddy’s Home 2 is exactly what you think it is.
Nobody is reinventing the wheel here. 2015’s Daddy’s Home ended with Will Ferrell’s Brad—the stepdad—and Mark Wahlberg’s Dusty—the dad—learning to put their differences aside for the sake of their kids. So, of course, the only thing left to do was add more dads to the mix. The sequel is filled with slapstick comedy, kids getting drunk on eggnog, and jokes about how kids love social media. The “sweet, soft man vs. the bad boy” dynamic is still present, only now it’s John Lithgow vs. Mel Gibson instead of Ferrell vs. Wahlberg.
And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Daddy’s Home 2 is proof that brilliant casting can turn a generic concept into something watchable. Mel Gibson and John Lithgow are nothing short of perfect as Brad and Dusty’s fathers. Gibson plays a coarse, womanizing retired astronaut who offends at every turn but oozes with enough charisma that nobody cares. Lithgow plays a syrupy-sweet retired mailman who toes the line between endearing and annoying with ease. The situations that they find themselves in are predictable, but it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’s enough to watch two legendary actors having a blast.
The plot gets a little convoluted towards the end when John Cena enters the fray, as the stepdad to Dusty’s children. The maximum amount of dads that this movie can sustain is definitely four. But the action stays lighthearted, and any time you find yourself struggling to keep track of whose kid is whose, you’re only seconds away from another funny gag to distract you.
In a world of media where men struggling to raise kids is often considered the height of comedy, Daddy’s Home 2 is refreshing. It’s nice to see a movie about men who are actually focused on being good fathers. There’s no wacky scene where the dad is forced to watch the kids over the weekend and is completely overwhelmed. There’s no joke about a dad being forced to take his kids to a big meeting. It’s immediately established that these dads care about their kids, and we spend the rest of the movie rooting for them. Daddy’s Home 2 is not exactly breaking down barriers, but it is a nice indicator of how far Hollywood has progressed in its portrayals of fatherhood.
At the end of the day, Daddy’s Home 2 is unlikely to become a Christmas classic. It is hard to imagine many people watching it more than once. But if you’re looking for a fun night at the movies, it certainly does the trick. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a little mindless holiday hijinks.
Overall Grade: B+
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