Plot: Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) have put each other through hell, but they have found some common ground and a functional routine, allowing them to co-dad in peace. But they realize there is room for improvement when it becomes clear the separate holidays have troubled the children, so the plan is set into motion to have one big, together Christmas. The entire family will be together as one, including Brad’s father Don (John Lithgow) and Kurt (Mel Gibson), Rusty’s estranged father who invited himself. Kurt is none too pleased with Dusty’s lifestyle, seeing him as weak and not how he was raised to behave as a man. As such, he begins to sow seeds of discord between Rusty and Brad, hoping to trigger some conflict. At the same time, Brad and his father’s bond makes Rusty a little jealous, as he never had that connection with Kurt, so tensions run high. Can they make this together Christmas work or are they doomed to be back in their rivalry once again?
Entertainment Value: The first Daddy’s Home was a surprise hit, with passable laughs and some solid star power involved. I wasn’t a huge fan of that movie, mainly because Mark Wahlberg was like a humor vacuum, sucking all the fun out of his scenes and dampening the entire movie. While he still has a sizable role in Daddy’s Home and remains a comedic black hole, a larger cast of characters helps lessen and balance out his presence. This time around, we have Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as the grandfathers, as well as more screen time for the wives and children. Gibson and Lithgow prove to be the highlights, with Gibson shining as the worn old man and Lithgow going for broke as a manic optimist. The two elevate the material, which is good, since this is the same low effort, basic humor found in the original. When the focus returns to the co-dads, the movie slows down and feels like a rehash, but luckily the grandfathers are given ample scenes to work with. A subplot about jealousy between the wives is minor and rushed, while the kids explore a first kiss and of course, two young girls get drunk just before participating in a living nativity scene. While the movie isn’t a great comedy, it does work slightly better because of the new characters and the wild performances from Gibson and Lithgow in those roles. So I had more fun, given that Wahlberg was less of a constant presence, but obviously fans of his work might feel differently. I still can’t give this a warm recommendation, but if you appreciate simple, slapstick comedy you can use as background noise, Daddy’s Home 2 fits that bill.
No nakedness. Some awkward mouth kissing between father and son, but that’s as close to romance as it gets here. No blood. As expected, bad things happen to Ferrell and often, but not on the same ridiculous scale as the original. Just some minor situations and one big set piece, which was shown in all of the film’s trailers. The dialogue is a mixed bag, as the grandfathers provide some fun moments, but most of the rest of the material feels flat and forgettable. The grandparents gimmick isn’t original by any means, but Gibson and Lithgow are able to make the flaccid script work better than it should. I also liked the constant dysfunction from Adrianna, who is essentially the textbook kid from hell and provides some humorous moments. Ferrell is fine and tries to make the most of the writing, but just isn’t given much to work with. As for craziness, I do think the painful, awkward improv routine deserves one points, as it is just cringe level material in multiple ways. But other than that odd scene, this one keeps it close to slapstick tropes and rarely veers off course.
Overall Insanity: 1/10