Daddy's Home 2 (2017)

6:32 PM

More Daddies. More Problems. 
"Daddy's Home 2" is directed by Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2, That's My Boy) who also co-writes the film alongside John Morris (Dumb and Dumber To, We're the Millers). The film sees Will Ferrell (Elf, Step Brothers), Mark Wahlberg (Transformers, Deepwater Horizon) and John Cena (Trainwreck, WWE) return, this time joined by on-screen fathers Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Signs) and John Lithgow (Terms of Endearment, Shrek). "Having finally gotten used to each other's existence, Brad and Dusty must now deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays".  Despite the first film not being a critical hit, it was a box office success. Can Anders correct the mistakes he made previously and put this promising concept to good use?

My expectations for "Daddy's Home 2" were very low; I don't quite remember anything about the first film other than not particularly enjoying it. As imagined, "Daddy's Home 2" is a lazy sequel full of dumb jokes and unlikeable characters. "A Bad Moms Christmas" is essentially the same film but with a focus on mothers instead of fathers; That is where the "Daddy's Home" films miss the mark, instead of making smart commentary on fatherhood, they tell cliche and outdated stories about masculinity. Will Ferrell is in need of a career resurgence as he has not appeared in a good film in years; Recently, Ferrell has been making Adam Sandler-level films. As Hollywood's most paid actor, Mark Wahlberg clearly has better projects he could be working on. "Daddy's Home 3" should not and does not ever need to happen...unless the creators miraculously attempt a smarter approach. 

One of the biggest problems about "Daddy's Home 2" is its complete disregard of women. It is to be expected that a film about fathers revolves around male, paternal figures. It could also be argued that the "Bad Moms" films disregard male characters; However, those films gracefully sideline the fathers whereas "Daddy's Home 2" negatively portrays and mistreats all female characters. Firstly, Dusty's (Wahlberg) daughter Megan (Scarlett Estevez) is weirdly sexualised in one of the film's earlier scenes. For comedic purposes, Megan wants to have her belly on show because Roger's (John Cena) daughter, Adrianna (Did Costine) has hers. Megan's mother does not allow this but when the school performance begins, Megan appears on stage with her top tied up. There are two issues here: 1. The male gaze is applied when the camera is focused on Adrianna 2. Sexualising a 9 year old is not acceptable, even if the actress is up for it. The two mother characters - Sara (Linda Cardellini) and Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio) - are pitted against each other, with both their appearance and characteristics. Karen appears to be a bad mother who shop lifts and does not correct her daughter when she disobeys; Sara is a one dimensional, bland mother who fails to stand up for herself. It's extremely unfortunate that in 2017, the only two adult female characters in a film fail to get along. Mel Gibson's Kurt makes countless inappropriate and offensive jokes about women throughout the film. For example, Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) confides in his grandfather, Kurt about having emotions for a girl. Kurt tells Dylan that he should just go up to the girl and kiss her followed by a smack around the backside. Once again, this is played for laughs but is actually teaching a young boy (and young audience members) that it is ok (and funny!) to sexually harass a female. "Daddy's Home 2"'s cast is not very diverse; The film introduces Casey, a young Asian girl. However, Casey is simply introduced as a love interest for Owen and has next-to-none lines. This is the perfect example of tokenism and it is regrettable that a racially diverse female character is introduced as a romantic accessory. 

The cast all do what is required of them. Unfortunately, that does not stop them from being some of the most unlikeable characters to grace the silver screen. Will Ferrell's humour becomes more and more outdated with every film he stars in; His style occasionally works during the film but like Johnny Depp and Jim Carrey, Ferrell either needs to take a break our reinvent himself as he's just not as funny as he was many years ago. Ferrell's character Brad isn't much better- he's immature, irresponsible and annoying. None of the characters in this film have any sort of arc - the film highlights their negative characteristics but not for the intention of making them more positive later on. Mark Wahlberg really doesn't belong in this film - he is one of the most prolific actors working today, it could be argued that he has absolutely no range as he plays similar characters in high-brow flicks like "Deepwater Horizon" as he does in the low-brow flicks such as the "Transformers" franchise. The character of Dusty does give Wahlberg slightly more to play with than usual- he gets to become the biggest of tools. Weirdly, Dusty is probably the most level-headed character yet he still is hard to like due to how he acts and treats the other characters. One thing that was undeniably good about "Daddy's Home" was the rival chemistry between Wahlberg and Ferrell. However, as they get along in the sequel, that one good thing is lost and even though the film tries to add some rivalry occasionally, it's never as prominent as it should be. The most problematic character is played by Mel Gibson -Kurt makes inappropriate jokes about gun laws and women. With all of the controversy that has surrounded Gibson in the past, it is surprising that he has allowed himself to be cast in a role that embodies all of the negative qualities people associate him with. Gibson isn't exactly the most charismatic but does have better moments throughout the film; It would be hard to argue that Gibson wasn't committed to the role when he gives Mark Wahlberg a big kiss at the end of the film. In contrast to Gibson, John Lithgow plays the stereotypical ditzy grandfather, Don. The casting of both Gibson and Lithgow is spot on and they both suit their on-screen sons. It is unfortunate to see someone as talented as Lithgow play such a brainless and vacuous character. The characters in this film are either annoying, bland or offensive. 

The whole film plays like a series of sketches, this is a critique on the narrative and the comedy. As the film passes the half way mark, it becomes clear that an actual plot hasn't been written- the writers were just making it up as they went along. This makes the whole feel a little disjointed and each scene quite meaningless. This became evident during an extremely unfunny sequence involving Adrianna turning up the thermostat to unbearable levels. Seeing sweaty, tired men isn't funny and neither is a child acting like a brat. The film then cuts to the family out Christmas tree shopping which is when the infamous 'girl talk/kissing advice' scene occurs. Next up is a random scene where Brad destroys all of the Christmas lights. This is followed my the group then deciding to go to a forest to cut down a tree; There's a random scene where Megan suddenly loves guns and shoots some turkeys. Even though [a form of] the narrative still flows, the family are partaking in such mundane and uninteresting festive activities, it's almost as if the film is throwing every possible activity at the audience in hope one sticks. Some films take the incoherent 'sketch' approach for the narrative and manage to work because there is some great humour; "Daddy's Home 2" really lacks laughs; Less jokes landed than the amount of fingers on my hand. The few funnier moments were not memorable enough or effective enough to elicit an overall positive reaction to the film.

Another issue with the narrative is that the film cannot decide between two different plot lines: 1. Introducing the grand-fathers and exhibiting how the dynamics shift or 2. Introducing Adrianna's dad, a third rival father. The second plot line is shoehorned right at the end - John Cena's time has been wasted on this film as the great tease at the end of the first is wasted. I do agree that the 'grand-father' route probably had the most potential but yet again, "Daddy's Home 2" fails to execute a promising concept. Dare I say it, "Daddy's Home 2" is quite dull and lifeless for a comedy film, there just isn't a concrete plot; The grand-fathers arrive, Kurt rents a winter home on Air BnB (one of the many 'subtle' product placements) and off the family go. It's almost the most basic and pedestrian plot route this type of film could take...I'm sure similar things happen in Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups" movies. The main value of this film (and its predecessor) is the importance of masculinity- Kurt represents hyper-masculinity, Dusty is still very masculine but has learnt from the past film and then on the other hand, Brad and Don are frowned upon for their lack of masculinity; apparently fathers who lack masculinity are foolish and clown-like? This is a very backwards value. This is why "A Bad Moms Christmas" is a far better film, even if it over-spotlights women- it at leasts paints a realistic and modern portrayal.

How does a bad film manage to get a pass? By being set at Christmas! Even though "Daddy's Home 2" shoves as many Christmas images and music in the audiences face throughout the first act of the film, it never quite has that festive feeling. Band Aid's song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" actually ends up being important to the plot - it's Roger's favourite Christmas song so Brad starts singing it at the end of the third act to win him over. Admittedly, this musical moment was probably the funniest and best moment in the entire film- it helps that this is my favourite Christmas song too. However, "Daddy's Home 2" decides to completely ignore what "Do They Know It's Christmas?" stands for- it's used as a commercial festive song instead of a festive song with a purpose (charity)...the whole "feed the world" part of the song is left instrumental. I think the use of this song was rather inappropriate. "Daddy's Home 2" focuses too much on negative familial relationships and not enough on the Christmas spirit for it to even pass as a decent festive film. 

"Daddy's Home 2" is a boring, dull and lifeless comedy; The 100 minute running time feels so much longer. Even though Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and John Lithgow are perfectly cast and have good father/son chemistry, this great casting is countered by each character being very unlikeable. There are few effective jokes, the audience were silent for the most part of the film. The narrative is told in incoherent chunks that feel like unfunny and pointless sketches. This is a Christmas film without any joy and glee...up until the last 15 minutes but that also has problems because it completely disregards the ethical meaning of a classic festive song.  An otherwise forgettable and uninspired film impaired by poor treatment of its female characters and a backwards approach to the importance of masculinity. 


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  1. I love daddy's home 2 a lot very much so much it is a great movie it's better than the first one because john cena has a much bigger role in it and Mel gibson was awesome in the movie he made me laugh and crack up he is one of the most greatest famous talented and popular actors in hollywood me and my mom love him in all of his movies he is in including the patriot we were soldiers and blood father

  2. Why are you so mad about the placement of Christmas songs in a comedy movie? You must be fun to be around. 😂