An unfunny equation
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.