Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It Came From The Cineplex: Daddy's Home 2

As regular readers of my blog may have noticed, I am woefully behind on my movie reviews this year. That's why I've decided to do some short mini-reviews of films I have nothing of note to discuss, in a valiant effort to catch up. How's that for a sentence!

Daddy's Home 2 was written by John Morris and Sean Anders. It was directed by Sean Anders.

Morris and Anders are a terrible, terrible writing team, who're responsible for such "classics" as Never Been Thawed (?), Sex Drive, She's Out Of My League, Hot Tub Time Machine, Mr. Popper's Penguins, We're The Millers, Dumb And Dumber To and Horrible Bosses 2 and Daddy's Home. Wow. What a spectacularly horrible resume! 

Anders' directorial career is just as impressive as his writing. He previously directed Never Been Thawed, Sex Drive, That's My Boy, Horrible Bosses 2 and Daddy's Home.

I didn't see the original Daddy's Home, as it looked, sounded and smelled like a huge dud. Somehow it managed to gross $242 million worldwide against its $69 million budget, making a sequel inevitable.

Since I didn't see the previous film, I had little no interest in its sequel, as I thought I wouldn't be able to follow the complex storyline, and I'd be lost by the worldbuilding in the Daddy's Home cinematic universe. There was nothing else of interest playing that weekend though, so Daddy's Home 2 it was.

Daddy's Home 2 is by no means the worst thing I've ever seen, but it's definitely not good either. Mel Gibson and John Lithgow do the best they can with what they're given, but even they can't elevate the material. Mostly the film is just bland and mind-numbingly LAZY. Not to mention laugh-free.

Don't believe me? A running joke in the film concerns the four bickering dads, who all come together and agree that NO ONE but a man is ever allowed to touch the thermostat. Ever! Com-O-Dee! Believe it or not, the film devotes a good fifteen minutes of screen time to this hilarious "joke."

Don't expect to see this lame excuse for a film become a beloved modern holiday favorite like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or ElfIt'll start fading from your mind before the credits end. 

So far Daddy's Home 2 hasn't done as well as its predecessor, grossing $101 million against its $69 million budget. It's made another $72 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $174 million. That still makes it a moderate hit, so you know what that means! Look for Daddy's Home 3: Fathers Of The Bride in theaters sometime in 2019!

SPOILERS, I GUESS.

The Plot:
I'll be brief as I really don't care to write much about this film. 

After the events of the first film, Brad (played by Will Farrell) and Dusty (played by Mark Wahlberg) have become friendly co-dads to their various kids and stepchildren. As the holidays approach, Brad and Dusty's families decided to have one large "together Xmas," to make things easier on their kids. 

Shortly afterward Dusty's estranged father Kurt (played by Mel Gibson) calls and announces he's visiting for the holidays. Brad's father Don (played by John Lithgow) does the same. The next day the co-dads pick up their fathers at the airport. 

Kurt, a womanizing, ex-astronaut, is appalled by his son's co-dad arrangement. He feels that Dusty and Brad are secretly harboring resentment toward one another, and decides to prove it. He books a small cabin and invites both families to stay there over the Xmas holiday, knowing the close quarters will create friction and bring out everyone's true feelings. What an asshole!

The families move into the cabin, and sure enough, before long everyone's at each other's throats. The kids and wives bicker, Don admits that he and his wife have separated, and Brad and Dusty declare their intense hatred for one another. Meanwhile, Kurt leans back and smiles, pleased that he was right. He IS an asshole!

The two families are so fed up with one another that they decide to leave the cabin on Xmas morning. Unfortunately they're forced to turn around by a surprise blizzard, and have to take shelter in a movie theater. When the power goes out, the families are forced to actually speak with one another, and everyone eventually makes up. 

That's the movie!

Thoughts:
• In the interest of goodwill, I'm going to try and say something positive about this film. Despite the fact that I didn't see the original movie, I had no problem understanding Daddy's Home 2 and figuring out who all was related to who. 

Kudos to the screenwriters for making the film accessible to audiences who may not have seen the original.

• Hiring Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as the fathers of Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell was an inspired bit of casting. I could easily believe the various actors were related.

• Amazingly, Mel Gibson is only fifteen years older than onscreen son Mark Wahlberg! Given his character in the film, it's entirely possible that he could have fathered a child at fifteen, but probably unlikely.

• At one point Dusty thinks he's cutting down an Xmas tree, but actually saws through a cell phone tower. OK, I get that this is a stupid comedy, and real-world logic doesn't apply, but c'mon! Granted, the tower's disguised as a tree, but I doubt it's actually made of wood. Wouldn't he have noticed after a second or two that he was trying to saw through an aluminum pole? Feh.

• That's it! That's everything I have to say about this film!

Daddy's Home 2 is an unwanted and unasked-for sequel to a mediocre comedy. The actors, especially Mel Gibson and John Lithgow struggle mightily with what they're given, but even they can't save the bland, unfunny and horrifically lazy script. Don't expect to see TBS airing a twenty four hour marathon of this film every Xmas. I give it a D+.

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