Despite it’s many flaws, Daddy’s Home 2 is an enjoyable comedy. A recycled story, one poor moment of drama, and rehashing a few jokes from the original (most of which stick the landing) didn’t stop me from laughing consistently through its hour and a half runtime. I won’t be placing Daddy’s Home 2 near the top of Will Ferrell or Mark Wahlberg’s best comedies, but I would definitely recommend it to fans of the pair. If you’ve seen the first Daddy’s Home, then you know exactly what you’re in for with the sequel.
My first gripe, something that was apparent from the first trailer, is that Daddy’s Home 2 reuses most of the same story beats from the original. Two men with conflicting ideas on fatherhood (and opinions of each other) are forced to endure and bond with each other because they are now part of the same family. While that dynamic is passed onto the grandfathers played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow, the formula doesn’t change much because they’re just more extreme versions of their sons. And it goes back to even more familiar territory once the stress of dealing with Gibson and Lithgow starts affecting the way Wahlberg and Ferrell act around each other.
Speaking of Will Ferrell, I should probably mention my one issue revolving around the stars of Daddy’s Home 2. It’s a little strange to say this because I’m such a big fan of his, but Will Ferrell might have been the weakest member of the main cast. He certainly made me laugh, but I got much bigger laughs from Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, and John Lithgow. Most of it was probably due to Will Ferrell’s role in the original as the weirdest guy in the movie being passed to John Lithgow, so Ferrell was more of a straight man this time. There was also a small story beat between the two of them that leads to the worst scene in the movie. I can’t go into detail without spoilers, but I will say it was completely unnecessary.
Now it may sound like I have nothing but complaints so far, but that’s just because I wanted to get them out of the way. It should also be noted that my criticisms mean little after laughing as much as I did while watching it. The goal of Daddy’s Home 2 was to get laughs, and it met that goal time and time again. I was cracking up during almost every scene along with everyone else in the theater. Watching Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg’s “co-dads” in Daddy’s Home 2 is only slightly less enjoyable than the original, and the slack is more than picked up by Mel Gibson, John Lithgow and two of the child actors.
Mel Gibson and Wahlberg were terrific as father and son, playing off each other to great effect. Wahlberg’s fast-paced speech and mannerisms meshed well with Gibson’s slower, gruff, condescending remarks and expressions. The banter between the two of them had me smiling any time they shared the screen. Whenever Wahlberg messed up, a snide remark was sure to follow. If we get a Daddy’s Home 3, I sincerely hope we get more of this pair.
And aside from the aforementioned scene, John Lithgow was hysterical. His bubbly demeanor and apparent ease shrugging off the most ridiculous of situations (and often being the cause of those situations) was always a source of hilarity. Lastly, his moments with Gibson and Wahlberg, who both reacted to such overwhelming happiness in identical fashion, helped emphasize the similarities between father and son.
Surprisingly, two of the returning kids/stepkids were as just as fun to watch as their fathers/grandfathers. Scarlett Estevez was absolutely hilarious as the impressionable, yet take-charge daughter/step daughter, and Owen Vaccaro was equally fantastic as the curious and sensitive son/step son. Both of them had multiple moments that could be the best of movie. Hopefully Vacarro continues acting, and Fox embraces more of Estevez’s comedic talents going forward in the Lucifer TV series, in which she has a recurring role.
With all said and done, I really enjoyed Daddy’s Home 2. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. However, it was funny enough to make me overlook many of its major problems. If you liked the first one, or the comedic talents of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in general, Daddy’s Home 2 is a movie worth seeing.