Daddy’s Home 2 (4/10)
by Tony Medley
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. That is extraordinarily
annoying. I have no idea if these people were shills, but if any movie
needs a laugh shill it’s this one, only they should be people who know
when to laugh and when not to laugh.
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 nice with a fairly 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 returns to his singing roots (New
Kids on the Block with brother Donnie, now of TV's “Blue Bloods”) and
sings part of the final song.