Dad's, the other half of the parental equation and perhaps one of the most dynamic job roles in the human repertoire. This responsibility is astounding for this job, each approached in a different way based on the personality of the dad. And just like the moms, Hollywood felt it was necessary to make a movie portraying this job, in an often-comical manner, to help portray the struggle and hopefully teach a lesson. Robbie K back in the movie theater trenches to review another hit feature entitled Daddy's Home 2 starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Will the dynamic duo get the magic right, or is this a series that needs a divorce? Read on to find out.
Fun: If you remember the first movie, you know that Daddy's Home is a very fun, cute film for a majority of the family. That same atmosphere comes off in this sequel, bringing the youthful adventure of the first film, but with a holiday twist and a grandparent theme done right. Our directing team did a nice job of integrating all these new components into a fast-moving tale that provides simplistic laughs, hard hitting banter, and a few heartwarming moments that just make you feel good, or at least accomplished that you aren't incompetent like these dads.
The Story: Yes, surprisingly Daddy's Home 2 has a story, albeit a simplistic one that focuses on emphasizing many things not to do with your kids, and sneaking in a few life lessons along the way. The tale continues from where we left off with our two dads becoming friends and trying to live life peacefully. But like the trailers portray, their dads arrive for the holidays and bring a whole new set of challenges. During the journey of surviving the holidays, Dusty and Brad begin to unravel more of their backstory and fears, all while facing the challenges of parenting young kids. As these challenges start to taper off though, the important family themed lessons begin to get doled out, to hopefully establish respect at the difficulties of fatherhood and family. Cheesy and run of the mill, yes. Enjoyable though, absolutely.
Integration of Characters: With their extended cast comes challenges of balance, and Daddy's Home 2 did a nice job integrating all their characters into the mix. Unlike the mother version of this movie (Bad Mom's Christmas), Daddy's Home 2 manages to give all the characters stories that interlink, pushing each person to develop themselves on some, often messed up, level. Sure, the wives needed some more screen time and development, but even these diluted tales fit well into the movie and keep pace with the comedic energy of the movie. The Grandfathers are even more impressively pushed into the tale, not only providing launch points for the comedic one-liners, but also helping with Dusty and Brad's own progression. And the kids as well fit perfectly into the mix, bringing with them issues, comedic jabs, and a cuteness factor to keep things interesting.
Stupid Comedy: Yes, Comedy is often a genre loaded with stupidity, but the presentation is what's important (see Thor Ragnarok for good presentation). Daddy's Home 2 traversed the path of over the top, ridiculous slapstick that is so stupid and unbelievable at points. While movies can suspend reality, these stunts were a little too far-fetched for me. Even worse, is that the stunts and comedic devices were super repetitive, lacking any clever twists or delivery to warrant bragging about. And while the simple comedy can be fun at times, it's sad to see such gestures over used when other movies have learned the art of comedy.
Impressionable habits: Daddy's Home 2 has plenty of annoying character quarks to make you grind your teeth to the nerves. Unfortunately, many of these annoyances come in the form of the bratty kids and the cruel, selfish tactics that they flaunt so well. While older audience members will hopefully know right from wrong, younger audience members may find these antics repeatable to the point of making them habits. And much like the comedy, these habits are over exaggerated, a little extreme, and eye rolling by the second or third portrayal. The movie does a poor job of showing punishment for these habits, and does a poor job of showing the right approach to dealing with these flaws. Guess it is a Will Ferrell movie, though right?
Trailers spoiled: We know trailers ruin surprises, but Daddy's Home 2 has given away a majority of the laughs for this movie. While the plot is relatively safe, much of the comedy can be seen, for free mind you, in the four or five circulating trailers. The result
are stale scenes that have already run the course before the film even starts. Fortunately, Mel Gibson's got some comedic gold hidden in the unaired sequences and the kids have a few zingers, but not enough to warrant this movie fresh if you watch television or YouTube enough.
Daddy's Home 2 doesn't deviate far from the formula that made the first one a success. Simplistic laughs, a nice family friendly story is all wrapped in the 90-minute run time to satisfy your movie craving. It's biggest strengths again are the fun atmosphere and well-balanced screen time of the cast. Unfortunately, these strengths are offset by ridiculous slapstick, impressionable annoyances, and stale comedy spoiled by the trailers. Certainly, this movie is a good holiday laugh fest, but this reviewer does not recommend a theater visit in his honest opinion, not with Thor 3 being much better in comedy.
My Scores are:
Comedy: 7.0 Movie Overall: 5.0