"Daddy's Home" again; ho-hum!
The original concerned the rivalry between Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), a globe-trotting macho man of mystery, and Brad (Will Ferrell), the teary, trying-too-hard stepfather married to Dusty's ex-wife, Sara (Linda Cardellini), and helping to raise Dusty's children. At the start of "Daddy's Home 2," the now-buddies have figured out a way to share parenting duties.
When their own fathers arrive for Christmas, several barely disguised gags from the first movie repeat. Don (John Lithgow) proves as cringingly lovey-dovey as his son, Brad; Kurt (Mel Gibson), Dusty's father, is a crass repository of growls, backslaps and chauvinist remarks. Kurt's only trait that doesn't scream "Gibson" is that he is supposed to be a former astronaut.
To punch up the families' winter holiday, Kurt books an impromptu getaway on Airbnb. You might think the late reservation is the setup for a joke, but no, it's just product placement. In the ensuing events ("story" is a little strong for a movie content to throw its characters from one vacation activity to another), the men peacock, agreeing only — and inexplicably — on thermostat etiquette. Cardellini and Alessandra Ambrosio, as Dusty's new wife, have a score of their own to settle but should count every moment on the sidelines as a mercy.
Hollywood may be determined to rehabilitate Gibson, but it's no stretch to imagine him as a man who cracks a hooker joke in front of children or lectures his granddaughter about how men hunt and women cook. Now if he and Lithgow had swapped roles — that would be comedy.
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