Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg Spread Holiday Cheer in ‘Daddy’s Home 2’

Just in time for the holidays, the unlikely duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg have re-teamed to explore the trials and tribulations blended families face while celebrating Christmas in “Daddy’s Home 2.” This time around, we get to see how mild-mannered Brad (Ferrell) and tough guy Dusty (Wahlberg) got to be the men they are today by introducing their fathers, who are basically amplified versions of their progeny. Fresh from his universally critically-acclaimed role as Winston Churchill on “The Crown,” John Lithgow puts his comedic chops back to use as Brad’s chirpy retired mail carrier dad Don, while Mel Gibson plays Dusty’s hardass, womanizing father Kurt, a role that unsurprisingly suits the controversial actor rather well.

“Daddy’s Home 2” picks off where the first film left off, with Brad and Dusty having the co-dad thing down pat. So peaceful and coordinated are the parents – which include Brad’s down to earth wife and Dusty’s ex Sara (Linda Cardellini) and Dusty’s glamorous second wife Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio) – that they decide to celebrate Christmas with their combined four children under one roof. Complicating things is the unexpected arrival of Kurt, an old school macho guy who makes fun of his newly progressive son and the whole co-dad arrangement. Joining in on the fun is Don, who one would expect would be a buffer, but turns out to be dealing with some personal issues of his own.

As far as family holiday comedies go, “Daddy’s Home 2” offers some genuine laughs. Like the first film, there are some amusing sight gags, including one involving Brad losing control of a snowblower, but the real humor here is derived from the differences between Brad and Dusty and their respective life philosophies, as well as that of their fathers. Ferrell is at peak form giving his stepson Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) advice on how to deal with the ladies, singing the virtues of the friendzone. Kurt’s old school way of thinking also ruffles the feathers of Sara, who goes as far as to let her daughter Megan (Scarlett Estevez) shoot a gun in order to prove a point, and hilarity ensues in a scene involving some giant wild turkeys and a wrong target.

Eventually, Roger (John Cena), a beefed up “Ice Road Truckers” reject and the biological father of Dusty’s stepdaughter Adrianna (Didi Costine) joins in the fun, leading to finale that involves a movie theater, a Liam Neeson spoof film entitled “Missletow,” and the 1984 classic holiday tune “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” At the end of the day, “Daddy’s Home 2” carries a positive message about the importance of communication, rooting out toxic masculinity, and being an involved parent.

Daddy’s Home 2” opens Nov. 10 nationwide.