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Daddy's Home 2

Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and John Lithgow star in "Daddy's Home 2."


If you didn't get enough of Christmas three months ago, you might want to take a look at "Daddy's Home 2," a sorta-funny film with little or no plot.

Taking familiar characters and plopping them in a holiday (not unlike "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”) the latest film is just a series of vignettes strung together with lights.

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell return as the dad and stepdad who, initially, were as divergent as two men get. Now that they’re on the same team, they need someone to play foil. Enter: Mel Gibson and John Lithgow as their fathers.

The former’s a macho bully; the latter’s a wimpy wallflower. Both arrive for the holidays, ready to spread their own brand of cheer. Because Wahlberg has an estranged relationship with Gibson, there’s tension. Because Lithgow isn’t telling the truth about his domestic situation, Ferrell’s baffled.

Throw in a shoplifting new wife (who barely speaks), a short-fused “surprise” dad and a film starring Liam Neeson called “Missile Tow” and you’ve got plenty to consider before you realize this isn’t going anywhere.

Much like a disconnected bunch of skits, “Daddy’s Home 2” expects its audience to know the characters and their back stories. Beyond the stereotypes, we’re hard-pressed to separate the good daughter from the bad one, the rich dad from the poor one.

As if to prove his superiority, Gibson rents a chalet for Christmas and brings everyone under one roof. That means there are going to be bits with trees, lights and meals -- and, for good measure – a little booze to get the kids going.

Nobody, unfortunately, is redeemed (at least not until the big anthem is sung) or wiser for the experience.

Like “A Bad Moms Christmas” this is just a way to revisit old friends and let them do stupid things.

Ferrell’s stunt man works overtime, edging perilously close to death every time he exits a room.

Wahlberg is given much less to do. But, then, he has to share scenes with a sneering, almost rude Gibson.

Because this is Mel’s first acting gig since he was ostracized by Hollywood, you’d think he’d want a little redemption. Instead, he creates a wholly unlikable dad who never seems to see the light. (If someone is looking for an actor to play Harvey Weinstein, we’ve got a suggestion.)

Lithgow never stretches beyond “Saturday Night Live” skit boundaries. And Linda Cardellini and Alessandra Ambrosio are so underutilized as the wives they might as well not be in the film.

Even an 11th hour appearance by John Cena doesn’t rev up the crowd.



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