Judey Reviews: Daddy’s Home 2

Daddy’s Home 2 is maybe my favorite Christmas film right after It’s A Wonderful Life, and I am prepared to die on this hill if I have to.
OK, hear me out before you bring up the Rotten Tomatoes critics score. What’s that, you already looked at its abysmal 21% rating? Well, nevermind those guys anyway, what do they know. If you’re going to count on Rotten Tomatoes for movie guidance, always rely on the audience score to be the more accurate assessment.
Daddy’s Home 2 is a family holiday movie with a star-studded cast including Will Ferrell as Brad Whitaker, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Linda Cardellini as Sara Whitaker, Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, John Lithgow as Don Whitaker, and John Cena as Roger. The story revolves around Brad and Dusty working together as a father and step-father to give their family a memorable Christmas after their individual fathers, Kurt and Don, come to visit them for the holidays. The dysfunctional dynamic between the three generations makes for some great holiday hilarity and even some genuinely touching moments.
Going back to what I said about this film possibly being my second favorite Christmas movie ever, I feel I need to clarify why. I am not implying that this film is almost on the same level as It’s A Wonderful Life since those two films are in no way the same. It’s A Wonderful Life is a powerful, in-depth look at the value of one man’s positive impact on his family and friends and absolutely deserves to be on the top spot on everyone’s top Christmas movies list. I just thoroughly enjoy Daddy’s Home 2 because it is a lighthearted family holiday comedy that actually stands out from other typical “family-comes-home-for-Christmas-and-madness-ensues” kind of Christmas movies. Plus, there is a bit of sentimental value attached since I did have a good time watching it with my own family the first time around.
I have seen this movie probably four times and still find myself quoting lines from it sometimes, usually out of context. Ferrell and Wahlberg have fantastic chemistry, and their chemistry extends to their fictional fathers, Gibson and Lithgow. A surprising standout from the film, even though his role is rather small, comes from Cena. Cena’s character, Roger, is the father of one of Dusty’s step-children and has some of the best lines in the film, especially at the end. The kids in the film also do a decent job of cracking some well-written jokes too, which is honestly surprising because I usually find most dialogue written for children in comedy movies to be cheesy and eye-rolling at best.
I would say the film doubles down on the humor compared to Daddy’s Home, the film’s predecessor, but it still keeps the same amount of heart as before. Most of the humor lands, but like any comedy movie, there are some jokes that play out for too long. I think the best bit in the movie is a subtle flashback to when Dusty forgot to say his line in a middle school performance of Band Aid’s “Do You Know It’s Christmas?”, and in the film’s climax, a rendition of the song is performed by the family in order to convince Roger to stay with them for Christmas. I wholeheartedly sympathize with Cena’s line upon hearing the song: “That’s my favorite song of all time…I’ll play this in August, I don’t even care.”
This holiday season, I dare you to see for yourself how you feel about Daddy’s Home 2 and go in with an open mind before taking the word of Rotten Tomatoes as gospel. You may be surprised how much fun you have with it.