The only possible thing director Sean Anders could have done for his Daddy’s Home sequel was make it bigger in every possible way, and that’s what he did. The cast is star-studded, John Cena’s role has increased, the slapstick comedy comes in larger doses, and of course, it’s now a ‘Christmas comedy’ for the family. Cheesy Christmas songs and all. Daddy’s Home 2 is loud, funny, full of clichés, which makes it the perfect festive film.
The film continues from the original’s conclusion, where Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) and Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) became friends. Brad, who is married to Dusty’s ex-wife, Sara (Linda Cardellini), is now the new stepdad for Dusty’s two kids. The two have become “Co-dad’s,” and just when they think everything is going smoothly with them sharing time with the children, Dusty’s daughter Megan explains how she wishes for a normal Christmas with one big family. But when the Co-dad’s plan a “together Christmas,” all hell breaks loose as the granddads join the equation.
Christmas is at the centrepiece of Daddy’s Home 2 due to it being the cause of the characters’ problems, while ultimately being the thing that brings everyone together as well. Although the narrative can feel like a regurgitation of films gone by at times, the festive theme proves to be a winner because it ties the story together very well. Certain characters have to co-exist because of the holiday, such as Dusty and his macho father, Kurt (Mel Gibson). Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ is also given an emotional connection to our leading men. Plus, there is just an undeniable feeling that a happy family at Christmas time brings a smile to a lot of faces.
Without a doubt, the strongest element of Anders’ Christmas comedy is the superb cast. Wahlberg and Ferrell are one of those rare comedic duos where they can carry a scene through pure talent, and that happens on more than one occasion. John Lithgow, who plays the father of Brad, Don Whitaker, proves to be an ace in the hole. His over the top mannerisms are perfect for this type of genre. However, the show-stealer of this sequel is perhaps the most unexpected addition to this supremely talented cast, Mel Gibson.
Everything about this film is in your face – the comedy, the feel-good moments, and even some of the performances. Gibson provides the perfect mix of subtle, and at times, adult humour that balances out the more childish antics we have to endure. A prime example of this is when he gives his grandson Dylan a pep talk, but for a brief moment, he gets sidetracked talking about a sexual conquest of his. It’s small details such as this that make him stand out, and at times make you laugh even more than pointless scenes like when the men go mad over a thermostat. Gibson is also the antagonist in a lot of ways, and his actions in this sequel push you towards embracing the festivities of Christmas even more.
The climax of Daddy’s Home 2 is the big payoff. It’s cheesy, musical, overloaded with Christmas tradition, and leaves you feeling very merry. So allow yourself to indulge in the absurdity of this family-Christmas-comedy this holiday season.
Dir: Sean Anders
Scr: Sean Anders, John Morris
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, John Cena, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson
Prd: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Chris Henchy, John Morris
DoP: Julio Macat
Runtime: 100 minutes