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Daddy's Home 2

I never saw the original “Daddy’s Home” with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, figuring it was one of Ferrell’s lesser efforts, box office success not withstanding. But once I saw the previews for this holiday season’s DADDY’S HOME 2 and saw that Mel Gibson and John Lithgow were joining the cast as Ferrell and Wahlberg’s dads, I was all in.

Neither of them disappoints, but Gibson exceeds ALL comedic expectations, stealing the movie every time he’s on screen. Unapologetically old school, sexist and funny, Gibson plays right into his off-screen image and nails every laugh.

Ferrell (Brad) and Wahlberg (Dusty) have found success co-parenting as the film opens, but when they decide to celebrate Christmas together with all their merged families under one roof, their truce will be tested in every humorous way possible.

Gibson’s Kurt is a former astronaut and lifetime ladies man, seducing every woman he sees and openly despising seeing his son get “soft” under Brad’s influence.

Lithgow is all “on-the-mouth kisses” and loud happiness as Pop-Pop Whitaker, combining his senior enthusiasm for chatter with Ferrell in full “Elf” mode, oozing holiday spirit and positivity.

The movie doesn’t waste anytime setting up funny scene after scene, delivering a ton of laughs.

Highlights include Gibson stirring up trouble at every opportunity, scorching Lithgow, Wahlberg and Ferrell with perfect deadpan delivery of take down after takedown. Ferrell’s had some great movie moments of physical comedy, but they all might pale next to the single most disastrous use of a snow blower in film history.

The living nativity on Christmas Eve is a powder keg waiting to go off and provides plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. The quest for a live Christmas tree is a knockout and I have to credit the filmmakers for going way past my expectations in finding a clever way to build a sweet “Love Actually” style conclusion that brings plenty of heart along with the humor.

Linda Cardellini (The Avengers) has some nice moments as Ferrell’s wife, Alessandra Ambrosio is stunning as Wahlberg’s live-in girlfriend and Didi Costine and Owen Vaccaro are excellent as two of the kids, barely looking away from her cell phone and looking for good love advice respectively.

There’s also one great surprise cameo at the end that we’ll let you discover in the closing moments.

We went in looking for holiday laughs and found a sleigh full! Daddy’s Home 2 will definitely become a holiday film we watch every season, alongside “Christmas Vacation”, “Elf”, “Home Alone” and “Love Actually”.

Some of the best moments of physical comedy in Daddy’s Home 2 would fit perfectly in the Chevy Chase holiday classic released nearly 30 years ago in 1989. There’s no better compliment than that in our book, so we’ll give this funny family comedy five HO-HO-HOs a solid B. Leave your serious film shoes on the doorstep, drink some eggnog and settle in for great Christmas themed laughs!

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