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Blu-ray Review: Daddy’s Home 2

February 20, 2018

By John Corrado

★½ (out of 4)

I don’t think anybody was asking for a sequel to the 2015 holiday comedy Daddy’s Home, but it was mildly successful at the box office, so I guess a followup was inevitable.

At the beginning of Daddy’s Home 2, step-dad Brad (Will Ferrell) and biological father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) have settled into a routine as “co-dads,” taking turns raising the two kids – Dylan (Owen Wilder Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez) – that they share with Sara (Linda Cardellini).

But things get turned on their heads when Brad’s father Don (John Lithgow) and Dusty’s father Kurt (Mel Gibson) arrive in town for Christmas.  Don is a goofy and enthusiastic chatterbox, much like his son, and Kurt is a tough man’s man like Dusty was before he softened up.  When Kurt books the whole family a cabin for the holidays – including Dusty’s dismissive girlfriend Karen (Allesandra Ambrosio) and spoiled stepdaughter Adrianna (Didi Costine) – they end up stuck together under the same roof, and inevitably start butting heads.

I have a penchant for mediocre Christmas comedies, and even I struggled to find any redeeming qualities in Daddy’s Home 2.  The film is cringe-inducing, and not in a good way.  The characters are vindictive and mean to each other, and the film’s attempts at being heartwarming or sweet come off as saccharine and cheap.  Much of the humour also feels somewhat off, again not in a good way.  Like the first film, which incidentally wasn’t much better than this one, it’s also hard to tell what audience this is even supposed to be for, with some of the humour feeling a little too edgy for the kids who will surely get the most out of it.

There are multiple scenes here that left me asking, who the hell even thought this was a good idea?  I mean, there’s no way to watch Mel Gibson’s Kurt telling young Dylan that the best way to get a girl’s attention is to dangle mistletoe over her head, kiss her on the lips, and then slap her “on the caboose” without it feeling creepy, or at best a little off.  How about the scene when Kurt tries to buy Dylan his own shotgun?  Or the scene when little Megan excitedly goes turkey hunting and accidentally shoots Kurt in the shoulder, before enthusiastically pumping the shotgun to take down two birds?

If any of this had been funny, then maybe the film could have gotten away with it.  But Daddy’s Home 2 is not funny.  It’s actually kind of depressing.  What we’re left with is a comedic misfire, that is chock full of good actors playing characters who act cruelly to one another, and it has little in the way of saving graces.  This is no Christmas classic, and it’s too mean-spirited to even be a pleasant diversion.

The Blu-ray also includes deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, and the featurettes Making a Sequel, Look Who’s Back, Co-Dads: Will & Mark, The New Dads in Town: Mel & John and Captain Sully.

Daddy’s Home 2 is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release.  It’s 99 minutes and rated PG.

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