Daddy's Home 2, C-
Rated PG-13, 100 minutes
To say that the scattered, episodic new comedy sequel "Daddy's Home 2" is better than the first "Daddy's Home" isn't saying much, given that hit film wasn't exactly a classic. There are a few good moments, thanks mostly to the inspired casting of the older fathers, but this lazy film is a weak excuse on an already thin premise.
Father and stepfather Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) forces to make Christmastime perfect for the children. Their newfound partnership soon gets put to the test when Dusty's old-school, macho dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) and Brad's gentle father Jonah (recent Emmy-winner John Lithgow) arrive to turn the holiday upside down.
The forgettable "Daddy's Home 2" is directed by Sean Anders, who directed the first film, and is co-written by Anders and John Morris, and while it has a handful of genuinely moments, it's an otherwise hit-or-miss attempt to bring Wahlberg and Ferrell back together again. To its credit, "Daddy's Home 2" is made more memorable by the casting of the grandads, who all but steal the show, but most everything else doesn't work.
Gibson, as Ferrell's macho, retired astronaut dad, really seems to have some mischievous fun, as does Lithgow's touchy-feely, sensitive Dad, and the two play on the comedy of the polar opposites (the best scene has Lithgow getting pelted with snowballs). Much of the rest of it doesn't really work though, with the uneven, episodic plotting and relying heavily on the man-child pratfalls of Ferrell, which grow old quickly, not to mention an uncomfortable subplot with underage alcohol drinking (note: NOT funny at all).
The predictable and overly sentimental ending is only helped by the generous use of the 1984 Christmas classic, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and the addition of pro wrestler John Cena (when in doubt, always bring Cena in), who even belts out a few bars too.
"Daddy's Home 2" is largely unmemorable yet a guilty-pleasure, PG-13 comedy with a handful of good moments, enough that we'll likely be subjected to a "Daddy's Home 3."