This quick-arriving sequel provides exactly what it promises: low-stakes, family-holiday shenanigans that often involve comedy violence.
The 2015 original saw the sensitive Brad (Will Ferrell) struggling to deal with his stepkids' biological father, the alpha Dusty (Mark Wahlberg). The sequel finds Brad and Dusty on much better terms, but their relationship comes under strain after their respective fathers, Don (John Lithgow) and Kurt (Mel Gibson) show up for Christmas and the blended brood heads off on a mountain holiday.
Daddy's Home 2 is the kind of studio comedy that derives a large proportion of its entertainment value from how nice the mountain accommodations are. That there is a set piece where Christmas lights are sucked up into a snowblower also says a lot. It's unambitious, to be sure, but it's also unpretentious, and that's kind of nice.
In their third movie as co-leads, Wahlberg and Ferrell display solid comedic chemistry. The perfectly-cast Lithgow is a consistent hoot as Brad's dad, but how much you enjoy Gibson's performance will likely depend on your personal feelings towards the actor. His broad mugging is familiar and well-honed, but it relies on a sense of audience goodwill the actor no longer necessarily engenders.
It's an issue the younger target audience won't likely have to consider, however. Indeed, this all plays out like it was designed for 9-year-olds, who'll likely eat it up.
For the grown-ups in the audience, the film's shameless and repeated referencing of the 1984 Band Aid charity song Do They Know It's Christmas pays off in a movie theatre-set finale that works better than it should.
Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
Frivolous family foolishness. With Mel Gibson.
DID YOU KNOW...
Mel Gibson plays Mark Wahlberg's father in the Christmas comedy Daddy's Home 2, however, in real life Gibson is only 15 years older than Wahlberg.