Daddy’s Home 2
Runtime 105 minutes
I have to start this by revealing a personal prejudice I have that might not be shared by everyone. Watching a Will Ferrell movie for me is almost as painful as a prostate biopsy. (I won’t go into those details, but it’s the most inhumane medical treatment in America, clipping off parts of the prostate without any anesthetic.)
His fey, effeminate but heterosexual, naïf that he assumes in all his movies is insultingly unfunny. When he is joined by John Lithgow as his father who is just an older version of Ferrell’s naïf it produces a movie that I would think would be unwatchable, even with a good cast that includes Mark Wahlberg.
It might be that Wahlberg and Ferrell are trying to create a comedic pair akin to Laurel & Hardy. Not even close. Laurel’s character was the schlemiel to Hardy’s schlimazel. What Wahlberg and Ferrell are is anybody’s guess, but Ferrell is no schlemiel (and certainly no Stan Laurel) and Wahlberg is no shlimazel, so it’s not what Laurel & Hardy were doing. Whatever it is that they are trying, it’s not funny.
The scenes of Lithgow and Ferrell kissing each other on the lips were off-putting to me but I understand that there are some cultures where fathers and sons do kiss each other that way. Even so, this movie played those scenes for laughs as Wahlberg and his father (played by Mel Gibson) cringe each time they see Ferrell and Lithgow do it.
I do admire Mark Wahlberg, but he has also exhibited a strange proclivity for participating in low intellect, nay idiotic, movies like these and the two Ted abominations.
Somehow I found myself at the screening of this and I squirmed through much of it. Directed by Sean Anders and written by Anders and John Morris, based on characters created by Brian Burns, the film was made even less enjoyable for me by what appeared to be several laugh shills scattered throughout the audience who were constantly laughing uproariously, even at parts of the film that were not even intended to be funny, a manipulative practice that I thought had become passé.
I don’t pan this one entirely because it has two positive aspects to it. The first is that it gives a relatively positive view of Christmas, something one does not find often in today’s Hollywood. So I give it a plus for that. The ending is quite nice with a good song.
The second is a surprisingly boffo performance by Mel Gibson. The film only comes alive when Gibson is onscreen and his performance is almost worth the price of admission.
As an added plus, Wahlberg (brother of Donnie of New Kids on the Block fame, now of TV’s Blue Bloods) returns to his musical roots and sings part of the final song.