Daddy se­quel a joy­less bore

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - CHRIS KNIGHT NA­TIONAL POST

Daddy’s Home 2 H½ (out of 5) Di­rec­tor: Sean An­ders Star­ring: Will Fer­rell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lith­gow, Linda Cardellini, Mel Gib­son Run­ning time: 1 h 40 m

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 touchy-feely 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 touchyqueasy just watch­ing him.

Any­way, Kurt thinks Dusty and Brad are be­ing too nicey-nice with each other, 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 Alessan- dra 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 chain saw, 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. ck­night@post­media.com twit­ter.com/chrisknight­film

CLAIRE FOLGER/PARA­MOUNT PIC­TURES VIA AP

From left: Mel Gib­son, Mark Wahlberg, Owen Wilder Vac­caro and Will Fer­relll in Daddy’s Home 2.

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