Possibly because its forerunner was not quite so bad as I expected, I foolishly thought that this might be one of those breezy, wise-cracking bromances that mildly amuses before being instantly forgotten. The latter qualification applies, but not the former – it stinks. Part of the reason could be that the duo of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, who combined well enough in DH1, has had its chemistry diluted by the additional presence of Mel Gibson and John Lithgow, actors who don’t like to be ignored. Brad and Dusty (Ferrell, Wahlberg), two fathers sharing custody of a nauseating brood of children, are as different as chalk and cheese – their grudging acceptance of each other before becoming bosom buddies was the hackneyed theme that worked first time out, but it really did not deserve a sequel. Their fathers Don and Kurt (Lithgow, Gibson) are, if you can believe it, just like their sons, only more so. The seniors have decided to spend Christmas with the boys, setting up a series of dumb sight gags, pratfalls and oafish antics. You know straightaway from the greeting at the airport that the movie is on the slippery slope to the dunny pan when Brad and Don kiss and cuddle in the most excessive, stupid way. Ferrell, who can be so measured in his extremities (Talladega Nights, The Campaign) carries on like a goose throughout. Lithgow is similarly over the top, while Wahlberg anchors it and Gibson, indulging in appreciable self-parody, appears to be wondering throughout if he has wandered on to the wrong set. What it does have is perhaps the most reprehensible moment in a G-rated movie that I have seen all year. Dusty buys a rifle for his little girl and she soon after shoots two turkeys with it, which is meant to be funny. What is WRONG with America? And as for the distributors rolling out a Chrissy pic before the end of November – we’re not all mug punters. Or are we?
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