Monday, 26 February 2018

Daddy’s Home 2 ★☆☆☆☆

‘Daddy’s Home 2’, out now on DVD and Blu-Ray, is the sequel to ‘Daddy’s Home’ which came out last (year?). The first one was pretty good - I wasn’t expecting much as it just looked like your run-of-the-mill American comedy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it actually was. This time round I again wasn’t expecting too much as ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ is a sequel and again, the trailer made it look like a run-of-the-mill American comedy, but this time my expectation vs. reality went entirely the other way.

In case you haven’t watched the first one, the general idea of the story is that Brad (Will Ferrell) is now Stepdad to the two children of his current partner Sara (Linda Cardellini), but has to compete against their super-cool and overly competitive Dad Dusty (Mark Wahlberg). Fast-forward to the end of the film and thankfully it’s all worked out (despite some bumps in the road) but the two of them are now happy to exist alongside each other, and the kids also seem happy with this.

In ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ it again all seems fine until we learn that actually, the kids aren’t enjoying the whole two Dads thing, which is made publically apparently during a school play. Dusty and (character) come up with the idea to spend Christmas all as one big happy family this year, and also both invite their Dad’s (played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow), who don’t get along as planned, plus Dusty’s new girlfriend and her phone-absorbed daughter.

I’m if I’m honest I don’t really know where to start with this one, because… well, it just wasn’t good. I was confused when I first started watching as the film immediately looked so different to the first - dodgy visuals and text appeared on the screen, and the cinematography was shoddy at best which makes it look and feel like a B-rated TV episode from the ‘90s. There’s a lack of cinematic shots, and at points scenes are cut in strange places, leaving it disjointed and far from enjoyable to watch. Of course, it’s a comedy and so I wasn’t expecting it to be breathtaking in this respect, but they probably could have gone to a bit more effort. It actually feels like an entirely different film so I was surprised to learn that it’s written and directed by exactly the same people as before (Sean Anders and John Morris, in case you’re wondering).

The issue can’t be the acting as we’ve seen from the first one that Ferrell and Wahlberg can have a great chemistry together on-screen, and yet even they couldn’t save it. Mel Gibson’s introduction didn’t help either as he plays a bitter antagonist with no redeemable qualities whatsoever. There’s a lot of jokes but most of them fall flat as they just aren’t funny, and some of these seem over-stretched and like the only reason, they’re actually there is to make it seem like there’s a story (the thermometer scene, to name a few). John Cena also makes an appearance as Dusty’s rival, so if you’re into wrestling or just Cena himself then I’d strongly advise you keep a wide berth so your opinions aren’t tainted.

There was one scene that I felt was really good which took place in a comedy club and focused more on Lithgow’s character as an individual rather than the main story, but this was far more emotional than comedic and so perhaps that was why. Unfortunately, I knew it was going to happen which made it less effective, as the foreshadowing in the first twenty minutes or so is so heavy that you somehow know the entire outcome of the film before watching it. 

To sum it up, ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ feels like one of those awful family Christmas movies that you have to endure to keep Grandma happy while the roast is cooking. Although it was a good idea to start with, it’s poorly delivered and the fact that it’s a Christmas movie does not serve it well. You won’t even notice the message it’s trying to get across as you’ll likely have switched off by that point. It has shown one thing though - sometimes it’s better to quit while you’re ahead.

Hannah Read

Daddy’s Home 2 at CeX

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