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American films

Film review: Daddy’s Home 2 is possibly the worst Hollywood film of the year – clumsy, dumb and unsavoury

The first Daddy’s Home starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg was chirpy, innocuous fun. So how has its sequel, which adds John Lithgow and Mel Gibson as the original dads’ respective fathers, gone so badly off the rails?

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 November, 2017, 6:03pm

0.5/5 stars

A strong contender for the worst Hollywood film of the year, Daddy’s Home 2 is clumsy, dumb and unsavoury. Drawing heavily on Meet the Fockers and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, it is mildly offensive where the former was cheeky, and strained where the latter was hilarious.

The first Daddy’s Home, which set a nerdy stepfather (Will Ferrell) against a cool absentee dad (Mark Wahlberg), was chirpy, innocuous fun. So how its sequel went so badly off the rails is a mystery. Coming at a time when Hollywood is under fire for sexual abuse and harassment, its sexist jokes – mainly delivered by Mel Gibson in an unpleasant turn as a dirty old man – seem extremely misplaced.

The new story starts with the extended family of Brad (Ferrell), Dusty (Wahlberg), mum Sara (Linda Cardellini) and the kids getting on well. Then Dusty and Brad’s respective fathers, Kurt and Don, turn up for Christmas. Kurt (Gibson) is a mean and sexist former astronaut, and Don (John Lithgow) a cheerful fool. The two old men clash over how the kids should be brought up, but the humour fails to land.

Film review: Daddy’s Home sees Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg vie for attention

Wahlberg and Ferrell seem befuddled by their lines, and Gibson looks wizened and grouchy, lacking the charisma of bygone days. A scene in which a very young girl goes on a shooting spree with a hunting rifle is especially disturbing, considering the concern over school shootings in the US.

It would have been better for audiences if Daddy’s Home 2 had simply stayed home.

Daddy’s Home 2 opens on November 30

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