‘Daddy’s Home 2’ delightful at times, but some beats miss mark


“Daddy’s Home 2” just might have to meet “A Bad Moms Christmas” outside in the parking lot to rumble over this turf war. Both films are seasonal romps about intergenerational love, acceptance and different parenting styles, but “Daddy’s Home 2” slightly gets the edge. The surreal and silly sequel to the hit 2015 comedy skates on the well-known but still-appealing comic personas of stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg and their zany chemistry.

Co-writer and director Sean Anders returns to helm the family comedy, and like the moms in “Bad Moms Christmas,” “Daddy’s Home 2” doubles down on the dads. While milquetoast sweetie stepdad Brad (Ferrell) managed to exert his sensitive, progressive influence on tough guy Dusty (Wahlberg), it’s a whole new ballgame when their fathers come to town. Jon Lithgow is brilliantly cast as Brad’s dad, Don, aka Pop Pop, a chatty retired mailman with cookies in his pocket. Then there’s Dusty’s father, Kurt (Mel Gibson), who goes by “El Padre” with the kids and is a womanizing, virulently macho astronaut who keeps trying to give his grandchildren guns for Christmas.

The secret sauce that makes the “Daddy’s Home” films work is the strange brew of chemistry between Wahlberg and Ferrell. Wahlberg is his breathy, exasperated self, while Ferrell executes his naive oaf routine he does so well, lending his clumsy physicality to all manner of bodily injury, accidents and mishaps. Christmas, of course, lends itself well to the repeated power tool gags that Brad gets into, with snow blowers and lights and chainsaws and cellphone towers.

With the added dads around, those antics become frantic. The mania produced by four warring dads, two moms and several precocious kids means the film almost never stops to breathe or let a bit run its full course. There’s a genius thermostat dad joke that would have been that much funnier with more time, but the film zips through jokes and plot points to fit them all in.

“Daddy’s Home 2” has its highs and lows. There are moments when it’s deliriously silly and delightful, and others where it misses the mark, lacking the consistency of the first film. And while at times it feels like too many dads, they eventually all learn to “co-dad,” in some kind of harmony.

MOVIE REVIEW

“Daddy’s Home 2”

Grade: C+

Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson and Jon Lithgow. Directed by Sean Anders.

Rated PG-13 for suggestive material and some language. Check listings for theaters. 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Bottom line: Surreal and silly sequel that eventually hits a harmony



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

‘Star Wars’ live, in Technicolor sound, with the Atlanta Symphony
‘Star Wars’ live, in Technicolor sound, with the Atlanta Symphony

If you’ve been waiting for the chance for you or your children to see the original “Star Wars” on the big screen, if you’ve wanted to hear the “greatest American film score of all time” performed by a live orchestra, this week you’re in luck. The 1977 film, also called “Episode IV: A New Hope,”...
Antique finds give Atlanta home French, cottage flair
Antique finds give Atlanta home French, cottage flair

Crafts are at the center of Sandra Boylan’s three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhome. Items distressed and sewn by Boylan, created by others in the past and made by nature fill the 2,500-square-foot house. “I’ve always been a creative person. I grew up drawing, sketching, always loved art class,” said Boylan, a former hair stylist...
Agatha’s still serving up meals, mystery and murder
Agatha’s still serving up meals, mystery and murder
According to Atlanta theater lore of the late 1990s, there were only two ways to get a gig at Agatha’s. Actors hoping for a starring role in the murder mystery productions had to wait for one of the existing actors to move out of state...or die. “It was such a popular place to go and everybody wanted to work there,” said Ryan Girard...
Pedal Atlanta's best paved cycling trails
Pedal Atlanta's best paved cycling trails

Ready to ride? Pedal these great bike-friendly trails in metro Atlanta over pavement and boardwalk to some seriously scenic sights: It's pretty much Atlanta's best place to bike if you're looking for a flat, long distance, scenery packed ride. Bike the Silver Comet Trail on a former rail line that runs more than 60 miles of gentle grade from Smyrna...
Sneaky ways to save money on your next road trip
Sneaky ways to save money on your next road trip

You hop in the car with a few friends or the family and a mere 1,000 miles later you're down $400 when you only intended to spend $150. What happened? Probably just a few overruns on the road trip budget. With a little effort, you'll find it's just as simple and sometimes even more pleasant to take a road trip that will save you hundreds. Credit Donkey...
More Stories