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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Daddy’s Home 2, Review: Audience’s at home too

Daddy’s Home 2, Review: Audience’s at home too

When you can count twelve credited parts, and five of them are children, you might yourself arithmetically challenged. For relief, the film is titled Daddy’s Home 2, which, thankfully, does not make you look for your abacus. But you do realise that in this case, 2 is 1 too many. Okay, so we will make no comparisons to the first outing a couple of years ago, and accept that in part II, as in Chapter I, the two Daddies are going to be Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. To reconfirm, both are producers too. And to add to star value, they have hired Lethal Weapon, Mad Max Mel Gibson too.

Following the events of the first film, Brad and Dusty (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their own fathers, sweet natured Don and meddling Kurt (John Lithgow and Mel Gibson), who both decide to visit them for the festivities, and land up a week before Christmas, on different flights, at almost the same time. Dusty's conflict with his stepchild's biological father, Roger (John Cena), continues, Kurt insists on having a ball and poking fun at everybody and the children have a host of problems of their own.

Along the way, we have a long scene where a pre-teens kid learns bowling at nine-pins and how to kiss another girl around his age, a little girl learns to wield a gun and shot a turkey, a spoilt little ‘lady’ insists on maintaining the thermostat at 85 degrees (Fahreinheit!!) which roasts the inmates, an old man reveals during a stand-up comic act in front of his 40-ish son that he has divorced his wife, snowballs hit a bald man (the same, aspiring, stand-up comic) on his head four times in succession, a man who should have known better saws off a cell-phone tower, mistaking it to be a Christmas tree, and the Lothario grabs the waist of any available woman and leads her out of the hall to...

Towards the end, you have to be reminded that everybody meant well, and even the macho step-father breaks into a song.

Daddy’s Home has two writing credits—John Morris (Hot Tub Time Machine, We’re the Millers, Daddy’s Home) and director Sean Anders (Sex Drive, Horrible Bosses 2, Daddy’s Home). Script-wise, in Daddy’s Home, it was a step-father (Wahlberg) visiting Dad Ferrell to establish healthy contact with his step-children. By the time we move on to step two, you have two grandfathers materialising out of wafer-thin air and three other fathers interacting in a sort of family Christmas, not to mention the mothers and their sisters and the children. Designed as a Christmas release, the film is more X Mess than Xmas. Gibson has lines that go something like, “How many co-Dads do we have? Who did you say you were...? How does that relate me to you?” 100 minutes of confusion confounded.

Thankfully, the women do not come out as crazy as the men. But why waste names like Ferrell, Wahlberg, Gibson (completely out of sorts), Linda Cardellini (Legally Blonde, Brokeback Mountain, Avengers: Age of Ultron; and some beauty) and John Lithgow in a movie that will just come and go? Incidentally, Lithgow did a movie called Santa Claus: The Movie, in which he played the villain—a toy manufacturer who plans to take over Christmas. That might have been more interesting than the syrupy, teary grandpa he plays here, though he’s not bad this time either. Professional wrestler and rapper John Cena provides one of the few funny moments in the film, by the sheer paradox of the scene.

It is more than obvious that the writers were desperate for laughs, and most of the scenes that might have seemed funny on the laptop have transposed tit the big screen as either dilly or pointless. A case in point is Ferrell’s suitcase being thrown out of the car boot into the bushes by Wahlberg because it does not fit as they are driving to a holiday resort for the Christmas week. Funny?

In case you need to know who were the Daddies, the Grand-Daddies, the co-Daddies, the step-Daddies, the ex-Daddies ( there such a thing?), see below.

Will Ferrell as Brad Whitaker, Don's son, Sara's husband, Dylan and Megan's stepfather, and Griffy's father

Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Kurt's son, Sara's ex-husband, Karen's husband, Dylan and Megan's father and Adrianna's stepfather

Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Dusty's father, Sara's ex-father in law, Karen's father in law, Dylan and Megan's grandfather, and Adrianna's step-grandfather

John Lithgow as Don Whitaker, Brad's father, Sara's father in law, Dylan and Megan's step grandfather, and Griffy's grandfather

Linda Cardellini as Sara Whitaker, Brad's wife, Dusty's ex-wife, mother of Dylan, Megan, and Griffy

John Cena as Roger, Karen's ex-husband, and Adrianna's father

Scarlett Estevez as Megan Mayron, Dusty and Sara's daughter, Dylan and Griffy's sister, Brad's stepdaughter, and Adrianna's stepsister

Owen Vaccaro as Dylan Mayron, Dusty and Sara's son, Megan and Griffy's brother, Brad's stepson, and Adrianna's stepbrother

Alessandra Ambrosio as Karen Mayron, Dusty's wife, Adrianna's mother, and Dylan and Megan's stepmother

Didi Costine as Adrianna, Dusty's stepdaughter, Karen and Roger's daughter, and Dylan and Megan's stepsister

Chesley Sullenberger as Brad's stepfather

Daddy’s home. Keep him company. 2 is company. Even if you are 3 or 4 or 5, stay at home, avoid going to the cinema where this Baddy is playing.

Rating: * ½


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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