The writer/director of this horrific movie, has actually written some funny comedies. I hate to admit, I laughed watching his films Hot Tub Time Machine, She’s Out of My League, and even the first Daddy’s Home. This movie had a total of 2 ½ funny scenes. It’s filled with a bunch of characters that aren’t the least bit likable, and you’d hate spending the holidays with.
The movie starts with Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) working the parking lot of the school, and Brad (Will Ferrell) dropping off the kids, and making plans for a bake sale. It’s mildly amusing. When we see a holiday show the kids are in, there’s a semi-funny scene with their daughter talking about why she doesn’t like having “two Christmases.” That leads them to decide they’ll have one big Christmas. One small problem. Brad and Dusty find out their fathers are coming to town. The arrival of Pop-pop (John Lithgow) could’ve been funny. Something about him going over the top with the sensitivity…and the entire theatre laughs when he gives his son a kiss on the mouth that lasts about 5 seconds longer than it should. Yet that character gets old quick. The other character — Grandpa Kurt — is a lot harder to figure out. It’s anybody’s guess why Hollywood has just decided to welcome back Mel Gibson. I won’t go through all the things he’s done/said, but they were offensive to Jews, blacks, women, and the police. But hey — he made Hacksaw Ridge and Jodie Foster likes him, so I guess all’s forgiven. We can all act like we’re furious about Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, and Louis C.K. now. Maybe they can make another Naked Gun movie and bring O.J. Simpson back. Maybe Kevin Spacey can do another Usual Suspects in a few years, or Jodie Foster can cast one of them in The Beaver 2. But…I digress. I told myself this wouldn’t be a Mel Gibson rant. I’ll stick to the review of him in the picture.
All of that baggage he brings to the role doesn’t really work. For example, the menace that worked for Mike Tyson’s character in The Hangover. In this, the Grandpa Kurt character is just vile. He tells kids jokes about dead hookers, and is constantly saying inappropriate things. He’s supposed to be an ex-astronaut but he talks like a trucker. He also laughs/coughs like he smokes 3 packs a day. There’s also something so disgusting about this grandfather wanting to pitt his son against the stepfather of his grandkids. If it were all funny though, none of that would matter. The problem is, it’s not.
The kids also aren’t very likable. One of them is horrible to her stepfather. Another is just obsessed with her cell phone (a joke that’s now being overplayed in films).
The female characters are given nothing to do but stand around acting exasperated by the stupidity of all the men around them.
A lot of the scenes that didn’t work had potential. One of those involves chopping down a Christmas tree instead of buying one (okay, that did have one laugh in it). Another involves a child hunting wild turkeys. Another has kids drinking Wild Turkey. Well, spiked eggnog. Uh…are we supposed to then laugh at kids slurring and talking like drunks?
Also, if the studio wants us to forget about all of Gibson’s bad behavior in real life, and Gibson blames it all on his alcohol abuse…why are we supposed to be amused by him constantly drinking in this movie? Or, when Pop-pop asks him if he met anybody interesting on the flight, he gruffly replies, “I met a Scotch and a pillow.” I wish I would’ve brought Scotch and a pillow to this movie.
There are also a few jokes recycled from the first movie, and an ending that’s recycled from the ending of Scrooged (Bill Murray). Also, getting the two dads to hate each other again feels like a forced premise.
Ferrell supplies a few smiles with his slapstick humor. And how can you not laugh when he sees a pack of wolves, and his dad tells him not to look the alpha in the eyes…and he cries as he says, “Oh no, I already did!”
This movie was a waste of time, and you’ll be wasting your time if you go to see it.