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|Daddys Home Two|
dir Sean Anders
scr Sean Anders, John Morris
prd Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, Kevin J Messick, John Morris
with Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio, John Cena, Owen Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez, Didi Costine, Yamilah Saravong, Chelsey Sullenberger
release US 10.Nov.17, UK 22.Nov.17
17/US Paramount 1h40
Like father, like son: Gibson, Wahlberg, Ferrell and Lithgow
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This amiable extended family returns for a holiday romp that leaves no Christmas cliche unruffled. As with the first movie, there isn't a lot of subtlety to the silliness, but it is sometimes hilarious, with some sharp gags laced in between the dumb ones. And there's at least an attempt to ridicule over-the-top machismo, even if each good point is contradicted with a cheap punchline.
As the holidays approach, co-dads Dusty and Brad (Wahlberg and Ferrell) decide to bring their interlinked families together to celebrate Christmas. This is slightly complicated when Dusty's long-absent dad Kurt (Gibson) arrives on the same day as Brad's father Don (Lithgow). Dusty and Brad are clearly products of their fathers, but have moved on through their friendship and their shared love for the kids (Vaccaro, Estevez and Costine). So Brad and Dusty's wives (Cardellini and Ambrosio) go along with a plan to rent a country house in the snow for the holidays.
As before, the central gag pits Gibson's aggressive womaniser against Lithgow's nice-guy chatterbox. Wahlberg and Ferrell are still chips of the old blocks, but they now have a mutual respect that's alien to their dads. Instead of properly explore these ideas, the filmmakers get on with the usual holiday comedy tropes, from decoration mishaps to snowball fights. Not much rings true, but it is amusing because the actors have such impeccable timing.
Wahlberg and Ferrell are even better working together than battling it out. They couldn't be much more different, physically and tonally, but their bromance is engaging. This basically leaves Gibson and Lithgow orbiting around them, but both are superb at this. And Lithgow adds pathos that gives the dorky Don surprising dignity. Cardellini and Ambrosio have a bit of fun on the sidelines, and each of the kids shines in a sideplot of his or her own. So does Cena (as Ambrosio's ex) in a madcap final act.
Of course, filmmaker Anders can't resist cranking up the sentimentality shamelessly at various points along the way, but some of the emotions feel surprisingly authentic, and everything is undercut by a jaggedly funny gag. And using Band Aid's Do They Know it's Christmas feels a little wrong. It's nice to see a sequel that has a more refined sense of wit than the original, even if this one isn't much more memorable. But it's a lot of fun while it lasts.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2017 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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