Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg and John Lithgow, back, in Daddy’s Home 2. Picture: Claire Folger
The film has the potential for feel-good festive viewing, but it falls short. It’s the sequel to the 2015 film of the same name which, I confess, I did not see. But as I soon discovered, you don’t need to see its predecessor to understand the movie.

In Daddy’s Home 2, father and stepfather, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) 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 (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s ultra- affectionate and emotional Dad (John Lithgow) arrive just in time to throw the holiday into chaos.

Will Ferrell, as Brad, pulls off slapstick comedy as if his life depends on it. It helps that he’s funny, but there are times his clumsiness is a tad unrealistic. And overdone.

Kurt is meant to be a tough macho man who has set impossibly high standards for his son. He is also mean. Although he shows he can be human, he struggles to connect with those around him. 

The character is not too far off from Gibson, given that he has also made some bad decisions in how he relates to women and homosexual people in the real world.

The film must be commended, however, for making an effort to portray healthy family dynamics, especially when it comes to blended families. That said, effort does not translate into success.

The women are reduced to caretakers and hardly important members of the family. It’s only when Linda Cardellini’s character speaks out in one of the scenes that there is some intention to balance out the gender dynamics. Sadly, it fizzles into the madness.

It was uncomfortable seeing girls, probably younger than 13, drunk on screen. This might have been done in pursuit of comedy, but it comes across as desperate and irresponsible. And the same child in another scene armed with a shotgun for Turkey hunting? The same firearm she accidentally shoots one of the grandfathers with, by the way. Another irresponsible move.

The film is a bad guide for parenting and a bad example of positive gender dynamics. What it gets slightly right, is the cheesy, festive cheer. The knitted Christmas-themed sweaters are cute in an old-school way. 

The film also explores the values of kindness, sharing and forgiveness. It’s an okay movie, relaxed enough for festive viewing.

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