Apparently the holiday spirit is contagious when it comes to sequels to hit comedies. Last week it was the 2016 raunchy smash Bad Moms that spawned its equally raunchy R-rated Christmas-themed sequel, A Bad Moms Christmas. Now we’ve got the decorations back out for the inevitable sequel to 2015’s Mark Wahlberg-Will Ferrell hit Daddy’s Home, cleverly titled Daddy’s Home 2. And as I say in my video review above the similarities don’t stop there. Screenwriters for both follow-ups decided to bring in the parents of the parents to join the party.
Bad grandmas in the form of Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines made trouble for their screen daughters during the holidays in Bad Moms Christmas, and in the case of DH2 we have Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as the granddads who disrupt the Christmas plans of Wahlberg’s Dusty and Ferrell’s Brad Whittaker. And who said there were no original ideas left in Hollywood? This turns out to be a very good idea for both films as these old pros really know how to liven up the proceedings and make these Xmas editions work as well as they do.
You might recall the plot of the original Daddy’s Home, which pitted Dusty against his ex-wife’s much more mild-mannered new husband Brad. The film basically became a mano-a-mano excuse for comic high jinks that scored a solid bull’s-eye with family audiences. The big difference between the bad moms and the daddies is that the ladies go all out for raunch, while the guys tone it down for a mild PG-13. In some inspired casting, Gibson turns up as Kurt, Dusty’s tough, take-no-prisoners absent dad who has basically ditched him his entire life. At the same time we also get Lithgow as the overly loving, square and affectionate father of Brad who never misses an opportunity to show up and give a warm hug to his son. With wife Sara (Linda Cardellini) and all the kids in tow, this “happy” group sets out on a snowy Christmas getaway to the mountain cabin set up by Kurt, where, in typical fashion for these films, all hell breaks loose right away with a disastrous attempt to put up outside decorations. It’s pure slapstick all the way (with one gag about the cabin’s thermostat repeated over and over).
Of course, just as in the Bad Moms sequel, the real play here is for the younger dads to deal with the older dads and have everyone come together in the spirit of the season. It is no spoiler to say that they do when they are trapped by bad weather and stuck in a multiplex showing a wretched Liam Neeson movie thriller that is just as ludicrous as you might expect it to be in a film like this. Fortunately Daddy’s Home 2 not only has Ferrell and Wahlberg doing their thing that worked well the first time, they have real pros in Lithgow and Gibson (in his first comedy since 2000’s What Women Want) to come to the rescue. Leave it to the grandpas to bring this thing home for the holidays. Jon Cena also turns up again for a few bits. It’s fun and forgettable stuff, but at least you can take the kids to this one. Sean Anders returns as director and co-writer. Producers are Ferrell, Chris Henchy, Adam McKay, Kevin J. Messick, and John Morris (who co-wrote). Paramount releases Friday.
Do you plan to see Daddy’s Home? Let us know what you think.