An un­funny equa­tion

National Post (Latest Edition) - - POST MOVIES - Chris Knight Daddy’s Home 2 opens across Canada on Nov. 10.

Last week, Hol­ly­wood took Bad Moms, a so- so com­edy about par­ents, and made a se­quel with more mom­mies and less funny. Daddy’s Home 2 proves that such mis­for­tunes never come singly; it adds dads, halves laughs.

The orig­i­nal, re­leased two years ago, was an OK story about a bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther named Dusty ( Mark Wahlberg) and a step­fa­ther named Brad ( Will Fer­rell) fight­ing for the af­fec­tions of their chil­dren.

No. 2 re­con­venes most of the cast — though not, alas, the great Thomas Haden Church as Brad’s boss — and then throws in John Lith­gow as Brad’s touchyfeely fa­ther, and Mel Gib­son as Dusty’s dad, Kurt. He’s touchy- feely too, only with flight at­ten­dants, wait­resses and bar­tenders. This is how you con­tinue your re­turn from Hol­ly­wood ex­ile? I felt touchy- queasy just watch­ing him.

Any­way, Kurt t hi nks Dusty and Brad are be­ing too nicey-nice with one an­other, and sets out to sab­o­tage the co-dads’ re­la­tion­ship. And if you think their sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers would have some­thing to say about this, you’d be wrong.

I sus­pect the pro­duc­ers kept their costs down by pay­ing Brad’s wife ( Linda Cardellini) by the line, and Dusty’s ( Brazil­ian model Alessan­dra Am­bro­sio) by the syl­la­ble. She spends most of the movie scrib­bling in a note­book what I dearly hope is not the script to Daddy’s Home 3.

The movie takes place over Christ­mas, and fea­tures pain­ful ad­ven­tures — pain­ful to the char­ac­ters and, if we’re be­ing fair, to the au­di­ence — in­volv­ing to­bog­gans, a snow blower, elec­tro­cu­tion, a chain­saw, a high- pow­ered ri­fle and a voice-ac­ti­vated shower.

( That’s right; writer/direc­tor Sean An­ders in­vented new tech­nol­ogy just to have it hurt peo­ple.)

The movie’s big­gest sur­prise is that the bowl­ing al­ley scene doesn’t end with some­one get­ting 16 pounds of polyurethane to the face, or any­where else.

There’s also an ex­tended se­quence where they visit a cin­ema to watch a movie that is not Daddy’s Home 2; some folks have all the luck. Fake- movie ti­tles are al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing — re­mem­ber The Dog­walker, the pre­tend movie in­side Train­wreck? — and though the mar­quee flashes by quickly, I think I made out Lobster Tales and some­thing called All My Memes.

The fic­tional block­buster they chose to watch was Mis­sile Tow, star­ring Liam Nee­son.

I’d rec­om­mend catch­ing that one if you can. I was go­ing to say that Daddy’s Home 2 runs the bet­ter part of two hours, but truth be told the bet­ter part of two hours is time spent do­ing some­thing else. If you go, it’ ll cost you one hour and 40 min­utes. It just seems longer.

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