It’s hard to know if this clunky comedy is part of Mel Gibson’s redemption arc or some strange retribution. A pre-holiday turkey, Daddy’s Home 2 sees him unleash a monster as the alpha dad of Mark Walhberg’s Dusty. John Lithgow is the touchy-feely father to Will Ferrell’s Brad.
Saving the day is Ferrell, flinging himself into the slapstick. One sequence with a lawnmower and some lights is demonically punishing. If the Buster Keaton pratfalls wear a bit thin, there are still laughs via the film’s best moment: a family trip to see a fictional action movie with a surprise cameo star. It’s a bit of spoofing so hilarious it almost makes you want watch that film instead.
The bottom line A classic case of diminishing returns.