Daddy's Home 2

Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and John Lithgow in Daddy's Home 2. (AP)
Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and John Lithgow in Daddy's Home 2. (AP)

What it's about:

Father and stepfather, Dusty and Brad have joined forces to provide their kids with the perfect Christmas. Their newfound partnership is put to the test when Dusty’s old-school, macho Dad and Brad’s ultra-affectionate and emotional Dad arrive just in time to throw the holiday into complete chaos.

Watch the trailer here:

If you’ve seen the first one, Daddy’s Home 2 is pretty much the same thing except we get a bigger cast with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow playing two completely opposite grandfathers.

Together with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, the four make for quite a hilarious team-up, and carry the movie with their exaggeration of macho and sensitive men. Although it’s not a bad thing that the story is focused on the dads, the disturbing lack of agency from the mothers, and even grandmothers, make it a little galling to watch.

Brad (Ferrell) and Dusty (Wahlberg) have been doing great with their ‘co-dad’ arrangement, and make plans to spend Christmas together. Their peace is disrupted with the arrival of Dusty’s father (Gibson), who scoffs at their parenting, while Ferrell’s dad (Lithgow) just can’t stop talking.

I can’t even write a decent line for the mothers’ role in this movie, because it’s sparse. Although Brad’s wife (Linda Cardellini), and Dusty’s ex-wife, has some semblance of a personality but little say in how her kids are raised it seems, Dusty’s new wife (Alessandra Ambrosio) is basically just a plank that has disturbingly little involvement in her husband’s life.

There’s one scene where Cardellini’s character finally stands up to the idiocy of the men, which in the end leads to someone getting hurt and she ends up calling herself a bad mother, ultimately proving that ‘men should make all the decisions’. This weird sexism even filters through to the kids, when the boy starts to asking about girls and all the adult men just give awful advice, ranging from staying in the ‘friendzone’ to forcefully kissing her and slapping her on the butt. And he even does it, with applauds from a big crowd. Even the grandmothers make no appearance in the movie, except right at the end without literally a word to say. 

Beyond the blatant disrespect for women’s agency, you do get a lot of good jokes and performances from the cast, especially Gibson and Lithgow who were great counterparts to their on-screen sons. With a better script with more nuance, it could have made for a much funnier movie. The two younger kids still retained their adorable charm, but just like Ambrosio Dusty’s stepdaughter was just as much of a plank, with an incredible lack of sass that the character clearly should have had.

The cast was quite a lot bigger, which may be why the women got such a raw deal, and sometimes it did crowd the screen. The actors worked with what they had, and they made a mediocre script fun to watch, up to a point.

Give me a John Cena cameo any day though - the man’s dry delivery is just pure gold.

Women will enjoy this movie less than the guys, but I must give Daddy’s Home 2 credit for showing how step-families can get along with a few surprising teachable moments scattered in-between. No matter your feelings towards the step-parent, the most important thing is the kids and giving them a better life, and that message is strong in an otherwise ridiculous movie.