Movie Review: 'Daddy's Home 2'

John Thomas

It takes a skilled chef to combine opposing tastes like pepper sauce and sugar with other ingredients to create a tasty dish. Director (chef) Sean Anders did just that when he created this, his second Daddy’s Home installment. Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and his Dad Kurt (Mel Gibson), are about as opposite to Brad (Will Ferrell) and his Dad Don (John Lithgow) as one could imagine. The end result is not merely a side dish at a Christmas dinner, but it is the delicious main course.

In an effort to make the holidays more agreeable for their four children, the co-fathers, Dusty and Brad, decide to have only one Christmas celebration instead of the usual two. A phone call from Kurt to Dusty informs him that he is arriving the next day for a visit. How convenient, Brad is already planning to meet Don at the airport – they can all drive there and come home together. At the airport there are hugs and kisses for Brad and Don and a brief nod between Dusty and Kurt.

Stepping into the house, amidst squeals of delight from the kids, Don has a riddle for them. “Why do ducks have feathers?” he asks the children. Not to be out done, Kurt also has a story for them, “Two dead hookers wash up on the beach...” he begins, but doesn’t get a chance to finish the sentence. And so starts the rivalry-comradely, loving-hating, joy-frustration that eventually affects everyone in the house. Christmas becomes a comedy of blunders.

With the best of intentions, Kurt rents a lavish mountain chalet so that the extended family can spend the holidays together under one roof. The snow surrounding the house creates a beautiful setting but also offers a myriad of opportunities for things to go astray – very astray.

Shopping for a Christmas tree soon escalates to selecting and chopping one down. It does happen, but the “four dads” soon find out that their tree is much more than they had bargained for. A family outing at a local bowling alley creates more chances for competition, frustration, tears and tantrums. Selecting gifts at a mall turns it into a potential crime scene. Tobogganing is a fun family activity, except to the small child in a rubber tube who speeds down the snowy slide all alone. In front of the neighborhood church, the supposedly solemn, peaceful nativity scene becomes a battle field – fortunately using only snowballs.

To stir up the Christmas “punch” even more, the real Dad, Roger (John Cena) arrives at the chalet. Now the zaniness and competition increases to a fever pitch. The Christmas season has offered Sean Anders the opportunity to blend the many traditional holiday ingredients together into a pleasantly fulfilling, delicious meal/movie. Nothing was left out and just the right amount of everything was used. The surprise ending is the perfect dessert for such a delightful holiday treat.

Directed by Sean Anders, this is a “must see” movie that runs 98 minutes.


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