Surprise, surprise: critics are absolutely shredding Daddy’s Home 2. While the sequel’s heavily crazy reception may not come as much of shock, the fact that it’s hitting the screen just one weekend after Bad Moms Christmas made its theatrical debut is absolutely baffling. That’s right, 2017’s fall movie slate has produced not one but two destined-to-be-terrible comedy sequels that center around the main characters’ parents coming to town for the holidays — and they’ve made their theatrical debuts in back-to-back weekends. It’s like moviegoers were collectively grouped together on the naughty list, and Santa Clause decided to crank the punishment up to 11 because lumps of coal simply weren’t cutting it anymore. Perhaps this is what we get for continuing to support the Transformers and Fifty Shades franchises?
And despite how terrible Bad Moms Christmas is, Daddy’s Home 2 may (somehow) be even worse. Its predecessor, 2015’s Daddy’s Home, absolutely killed it at the box office in the face of subpar reviews, raking in over $240 million at the box office. It was all but inevitable that stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg would reunite for a followup, but it looks like doubling down on its premise of dysfunctional parenting units hasn’t added many laughs to the proceedings. The sequel currently sports a 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The additions of John Lithgow and Mel Gibson to the cast don’t seem to have made much of a positive impact, either. In fact, more than a few critics are zeroing in on the latter’s involvement with the film, attacking his cringeworthy performance while questioning whose decision it was to cast him in the first place. But Gibson is far from this stinker’s only shortcoming, it seems.
After enduring last week’s lousy and lazy A Bad Mom’s Christmas, I would have bet it would be many a year before we’d see another holiday comedy more sour and cynical and profoundly unfunny. I sit corrected — Chicago Sun-Times
This is a toxic, not at all benign film made for the enjoyment of everyone still oblivious to the fact that this kind of worldview is crashing down in flames even as we speak. — Vulture
Sequels almost always fall short of their predecessors, but the amusing parts of the first Daddy’s Home are just a distant memory here. It’s like getting socks for Christmas one year, and a box filled with poo the next. — Toronto Sun
A vacuous and generally indifferent effort that lacks even the watered down spark and inspiration of its ho-hum 2015 original (sorry, Sofia Coppola), this seasonal comedy sequel is a fruitless, frustrating nothingburger of tired dysfunctional family tropes and conservative-minded family values. Seemingly made to push the bottom line more than for any creative incentive, returning co-writer/director Sean Anders produces a wonderless, unimaginative humbug of a comedy, one that comes with all the appeal of slushy snow and goes down about as smooth as spoiled eggnog. — The Playlist
It’s easy to forgive a lot of flaws in a comedy as long as it makes you laugh. Daddy’s Home 2 has about ten solid chuckles in its 100-minute running time, which is not an impressive ratio. The majority of the gags seem to have never got past the idea phase, with the set-up acting as the punchline … “uncomfortably sinister” isn’t really a selling point in a family-friendly comedy. — IGN
Director Sean Anders (Horrible Bosses 2) and his co-writer John Morris (We’re the Millers) execute what are supposed to be the laughs with blunt force. The jokes announce themselves with heavy footsteps, and almost none of them land, stranding a talented cast with terrible material that they’re straining to sell. — The Wrap
All joy and light can hardly compensate for the black hole that is Mel Gibson, making his first big return to a studio picture by playing a womanizing, conservative, misogynistic, homophobic dinosaur who looks like a fallow corn husk due to decades of alcoholism and encourages his prepubescent grandson to sexually assault girls on whom he has crushes. He’s also an astronaut. Acting! — Paste Magazine
It’s a lazy, uninspired sequel that, thanks to Gibson’s participation, leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. — The Aisle Seat
As the gruff padre of Wahlberg’s tough-guy dad and foil to Ferrell’s ultrasensitive father from the first film, Gibson is doing exactly what the movie expects of itself: nothing. He gets awful lines and delivers them awfully (guess who says that aforementioned joke about dead hookers). As does everyone else on-screen, so seemingly bored are they of Sean Anders’s listless direction and a script that must have been mistakenly rescued from a dumpster fire – though it’s unfair to besmirch the good name of dumpsters here. — Globe and Mail
A redemptive finale arrives too late, like trying to put a pin back in an exploded hand grenade. By any standard, every person in the world of Daddy’s Home 2 would be scarred for life by the events in the film. The real happy ending is that no one in the audience has to go home with these people. — San Francisco Chronicle