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Daddy’s Home 2

Year: 2017
Studio: Paramount
Director: Sean Anders
Writer: Sean Anders, John Morris, Brian Burns
Cast: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson, John Cena

What the hell do you want? The original was lame and this is lamer. In fact it built upon the characterisations of the first movie (lovable eager loser one-upped by cool incoming rebel) one level further to the extent that it only made me confused about who everyone was and what they had to do with each other.

It's amazing to recall that Will Ferrell was once such an exciting new comic talent he appeared in a Woody Allen movie. He's long since given up on any pretentions of the serious side we saw back in Stranger Than Fiction, because these days he simply shows up at the studio sound stage, plays an endless procession of the same character (The House, Get Hard, The Campaign – many of them suburban dads doing something stupid), collects his cheques and goes home.

Here he returns as straight-laced, nerdy Brad, who's loving fatherdom was encroached upon last time by his stepkids' far more masculine biological father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) but with who he now shares parenting duties along with the kids' mother.

But (a part I didn't remember) Dusty has some other hot chick wife and another daugher or something, so when they all go away for Xmas together it's a complete shemozzle. Who the hell everyone is and what they have to do with each other had my head spinning the whole time I was waiting for jokes worth laughing at. John Cena as the other kid's father (or something) is also there as the same kind of tougher-than-everyone comic foil Wahlberg's role was last time.

To add to the comic hijinks, John Lithgow shows up as Brad's equally nerdy dad and Mel Gibson (looking like the years of alcohol and movie jail have taken a terrifying toll on him) is Dusty's hard as nails father. One of the kids is in love with a neighbouring girl and doesn't know how to approach her, Brad's father is carrying a secret despite his cheery exterior, and it's all stirred up together to create what the studio and director Sean Anders obviously hoped was a lovable comedy about the real meaning of family but instead renders it all completely nonsensical.

Jokes are rehashed from the first movie as often as ideas and if you loved the first one (did anybody?), wait until its on streaming services. The most interesting thing about it is that studios still love Ferrell for some reason – despite being in the news once about being the movie star with the lowest cost to box office return ratio (as well as simply not being funny any more) he still has about nine thousand movies and TV shows in development.

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