REVIEW: “DADDY’S HOME 2” (2017) PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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Well hang up your christmas stockings and get your eggnog ready as we are headed into the holidays, and that means the family holiday movies are starting up. With the trailer for “DADDY’S HOME 2”, as with most comedies these days, giving away many of the funny moments, no need to expect any additional spoilers here.

As for the film itself – we pick up two years later, after the fierce daddy competition between Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) had throughout the first film. We start off sweetly, with what looks to be a very healthy co-dad environment for all involved. In comedy-based cinema, the best way to disrupt a happy family synergy is to introduce the Christmas season and the sure-to-follow family turmoil. And with that – enter Mel Gibson as Dusty’s estranged dad – Kurt, and John Lithgow as Brad’s so-close-it’s-too-close dad – Don… and let the holiday escapades begin.

It’s clear that these two grandads have completely different ideas of well, being grandads. Gibson’s character’s idea of being a father has been around for many generations. Toughen up the kids and make sure they are strong and independent. Keep those emotions close to the vest. On the other side is John Lithgow and his over-hugging and blubbering true feelings approach. The familiar supporting cast, (notably missing Griff (Hannibal Buress)) holds up their end admirably. Sara (Linda Cardellini) and Alessandra Ambrosio as Karen, are back as Brad’s and Dusty’s wives, respectively. Scarlett Estevez, Owen Vaccaro, and Didi Costine are back as the kids: Megan, Dylan & Adrianna – each with their own quirks and growing pains. Even John Cena returns as Adrianna’s biological father – Roger, and also delivers one of the film’s best punchlines, as well as a bit that might forever ruin Christmas caroling for you or maybe like me, where I thought it was actually simply sweet.

With the additions of Gibson and Cena, the sequel ups the ante on the debate of masculinity that anchored the first film. The female characters are still seemly just afterthoughts, and some of Gibson’s antics (considering his rep and the current revelations coming out of Hollywood) seem awkwardly ill-timed. He makes inappropriate jokes, he makes sexist jokes about hookers, he laughs at nearly everything stupid Ferrell does.

Could I slam this film for having Mel Gibson in it..yes I completely could, and legitimately so because honestly, it doesn’t flow well with me on a personal level. Neither does when trying to make light of kids with shotguns or using them as props to getting drunk. It’s not. Especially in light of everything going on here now. But if you step away from that, this film was also a bit on the sappy-sweeter, emotional side than the original ‘DADDY’S HOME’ (which I thought was NOT appropriate for kids) for me and that’s what redeemed it. This one – if they are over the age of 12 or 13, yes, as I think back to my 12 or 13 year old self, and would be okay with it.

Grade: C
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
“DADDY’S HOME 2” will be released in theaters nationwide on Friday, November 10, 2017

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REVIEW: “DADDY’S HOME” (2015) Paramount Pictures

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In this the second collaboration between Wahlberg and Ferrell, “Daddy’s Home” gives us Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell), a mild-mannered radio executive who is trying his damndest to become the best stepdad to his new wife Sara’s (Linda Cardenelli) two children. But some big complications are coming his way when their fun, free-wheeling, free-loading real father Dusty Mayron (Mark Wahlberg) arrives, forcing Brad to compete for the affection of the kids.
At this point is of course where the fun starts as father and step-father challenge and begin competing with one another for the love of their children for the position of being called “Dad”.
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The film spends its first ten minutes working to establish Brad as a character, as the over-eager, almost irritatingly, sincere step-father who found himself left impotent after a dental mishap. In contrast, we have Dusty Mayron. Dusty is Sara’s ex-husband and the biological father to Brad’s two step-children. Dusty is an eccentric larger-than-life type of guy, basically the walking and talking embodiment of all of Brad’s insecurities he seems to swagger around with his own soundtrack of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck playing in the background.
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Sara is the mother who watches as both these men in her life engage in a rapidly escalating game of one-upmanship to win the love of her children and while she is completely wise to what is going on and doesn’t try to stop it, she plays against neither character.

The supporting cast – The wonderfully accented fertility specialist Dr. Francisco (Bobby Canavale); Thomas Haden Church as Leo Holt, Brad’s boss, is as always sheer comedy gold. Taking me back to his WINGS days here with his delivery of stories and one-liners. And the man who seriously MUST re-consider his lively-hood in the pro-wrestling arena and become the hysterical supporting actor in every comedy film made.. John Cena. Hannibal Buress as Griff, the handyman extraordinaire, all do well, but director Sean Anders does struggle somewhat to keep the laughs coming.
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While I had a few really good belly laughs at this one – take note- it’s not a kids movie as even the littliest of kids swears some, it’s PG-13 rating is true to form here. All in all, Daddy’s Home has a solid premise and a talented cast. It just doesn’t manage to do much with either.

Grade: C-
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Saturday, December 19, 2015 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Nationwide release: Friday, December 25, 2015