By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Daddy’s Home 2”; Director: Sean Anders; Cast: Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Linda Cardellini, Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, Didi Costine, Allessandra Ambrosio and John Cena; Rating: *1/2
A loosely structured farce that satirises modern concepts of fatherhood and masculinity, “Daddy’s Home 2” is a flighty comedy just like its predecessor — the 2015 released “Daddy’s Home”. Except that this one is set during Christmas week, making it a festive fare.
While adhering to the wacky tone that was defiantly established in the first edition, this one does further the story set-up in a natural and organic way. It is about dads versus step-dads and their dads.
The arrival of Christmas is the family event of the year and family means bonding, relatives and more. Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) decide to give their children a good “One-family-Christmas”. For the one week holidays, they are joined by their respective dads Mr. Whitaker (John Lithgow) and Dusty’s dad Kurt (Mel Gibson).
With space being a constraint, Kurt books the family in a holiday resort, where the major part of the drama takes place. The family yoyos between seeming to be a happy family to a dysfunctional one, depending on the dads’ outlook. From stereotype behaviour to progressive and shockingly amusing, they have it all.
Like all family comedies, the message is pro-family and the jokes are to see how the family, despite its obvious differences, manages to reconcile. While there is tenderness, understanding and weakness between Brad and his dad, there is an air of defiance, rudeness and charisma between Dusty and his father.
The plot has some hilarious moments. The scenes of physical gag, a classic in comedy are the order of the day. But it is the direction of Sean Anders and the script written in collaboration with John Morris, specialist in the field, who deliver the best moments of the film: the bowling scene is great as well as the live crib, although both are surpassed without doubt for the finale.
With both fathers’ personalities being an extension of their sons, theirs are the funniest characters. They seem to overshadow their sons most of the times. In fact, there are scenes which are sort of funny, where the two dads and two granddads offer advice and strategies to the younger lot in the film.
Mel Gibson as the extravagant Kurt is a kind of exaggeration in his role as a rough guy in action films, with all the necessary typecasts; rude, womanizing, misogynist, macho, Republican, etc. Not only that, he is also the guy who likes to crack heavy jokes that make his son squirm. On the other hand, John Lithgow as Brad’s father is all mush and sloppy. Together, they make the many flaws in the film diminish.
The other characters in the family seem to be in stock roles and they do a good job of it.
Technically, the film is moderately mounted with humour in limited and mediocre quotient. And overall, the film’s premise is so akin to the recently released Bad Moms Christmas.