‘Daddy’s Home 2’ Review

Alexandra Petrache reviews the second seasonal comedy instalment.

“A day without laughter is a wasted day,” my Thai fortune cookie said on Saturday night. Fantastic, I thought. Good thing I was going to see Daddy’s Home 2 the next day. Let’s see if I can get my portion of laughter.

I walked into Vue West End, excited to have received a nice Christmassy invitation by mail, and made my way to the screen. The first thing I noticed were the kids, who were all eating Maltesers. “I want some,” I thought, “do they only give them to kids?” Imagine my pleasant surprise when I reached my seat and found not only Maltesers, but an advent calendar. My day was made. Now to melt into my comfortable seat and enjoy the film…

I must say I remembered only disparate scenes from Daddy’s Home and had to piece some things together, but there is no need to have seen it to enjoy the second instalment. The film picks up where the first left off – Dusty is back in his children’s lives and trying to raise them together with his ex-wife’s husband, Brad. Things appear to have reached a consensus, and the two are happy to be “co-dads”. You cannot help but wonder whether everything is a pretence in their small corner of Heaven. There is a strong smell of competition, though Dusty tries to rein it in and prove he’s changed, and Brad needs to keep his image of “good boy”.

After the children complain about the household being split, the two dads decide to offer them the perfect Christmas: one big celebration with the whole family. So far so good. However…enter Mel Gibson as Dusty’s macho dad and John Lithgow as Brad’s loving one. Add to the mix a bunch of step-siblings and ex and current wives, and throw all of them in a cabin. What can go wrong?

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This film is not the sharpest tool in the box. There are some funny jokes and genuinely amusing situations (cue the bowling scene or the turkey hunt), but most of the jokes seem half-hearted. Sometimes it feels like there are too many threads going on – the characters get placed in lots of ridiculous situations that don’t last enough to produce a build-up and fully engage the audience. It fails to deliver on a number of occasions where it could have been a hit.

If there is one thing the film does well it’s bring on the Christmas spirit. The ending, especially, is peppered with heart-warming moments between the siblings, the two moms, the five dads (plot twist) and the townsfolk. It’s one to watch this Christmas after a copious meal.

Bonus point: halfway through the screening I realised the seat reclined. Free snacks, fun AND a reclining chair. My day was made.

Daddy’s Home 2 is out in UK cinemas on November 22nd. Trailer below:

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