Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reunite for Sean Anders's Daddy's Home 2, but the once-rivaling dads enjoying their new BFF co-dad relationship is interrupted by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow's parenting tips. The holiday-themed comedy sequel crashes the 4K Ultra HD festivities with a gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR presentation and a good Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but a small set of supplements makes this present for For Fans Only.
Last we saw Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in a contest of which father knows best, the two frenemies eventually came around to seeing the benefit of each other's presence in the lives of their kids and even discovered they make good friends. In Daddy's Home 2, the co-parenting pair has graduated to BFFs, discussing and coordinating events with each other and Ferrell making his best bud a fresh cup of hot cocoa while Wahlberg directs school drop-off traffic. As in the first movie, the two actors display an excellent comedic chemistry that immediately feels natural and genuine. The goofily bathetic and reliable Ferrell provides the pratfalls and hijinks, which includes jabs at being overemotional, while the more self-assured and fearless Wahlberg delivers the deadpan sarcasm that slowly chips away to reveal a vulnerable unsureness. They maintain a high-level energy and rhythm necessary for making Sean Anders' sequel a tolerable watch, but their talents are not enough for saving the movie from yet another tediously pedestrian and uninspiring plot.
The first of two catalysts — if that's even possible for a supposedly simple, straightforward story — comes by way of little Megan (Scarlett Estevez) divulging to an audience of strangers attending a holiday play her frustration with being shared between two households. Apparently, the solution for resolving this admittedly original crisis is by spending the holidays as one family, which then leads to a weirdly bizarre spat of who named the idea as "together Christmas." But more importantly, before any plans are finalized and details ironed out, the dads' excitement is interrupted by the second catalyst, news of both men's fathers, Kurt (Mel Gibson) and Don (John Lithgow), also visiting for the holidays. Since these granddads are the influencing paterfamilias in both men's lives, the two new characters are essentially double the traits and mannerisms previously seen in Wahlberg and Ferrell. The airport meet-and-greet scene is largely a repeat from the first movie, but Gibson and Lithgow's interaction with their sons is one of the few genuinely funny highlights.
However, once granddads are taken home and Kurt immediately notices his grandkids' preferential treatment for step-grandpa, the jokes and what should have been unexpected banter goes flat — a series of physical gags and shockingly lame one-liners more likely to raise eyebrows than father sudden bursts of laughter. Gibson's heroic pilot is a crude, unrefined shell of pure manliness and obliviousness ready to tell children dead-hooker jokes and literally shown treating women as nothing more than objects for his sexual gratification. What should be a moment of redemption for the character and cathartic reparation for their relationship is ultimately a hollow gesture that sadly reminds audiences of Gibson's own real-life ugly offenses. Lithgow's character is provided with a bit more depth, on the other hand, as his overly bubbly exuberance and almost-sickening cheerfulness serves as a mask hiding more troubling issues. In his relationship to Ferrell, we're warned of the danger of not communicating more openly with our kids.
Ironically, the plot's central theme of encouraging open communication seems overlooked, neglected or abandoned altogether when it concerns the kids in the family. It's never quite expressed or promoted in the three children supposedly witnessing their parental figures behaving like immature buffoons. According to mom (Linda Cardellini), Dylan (Owen Vaccaro) is at the age for a talk about the birds and the bees, based on what we're lead to believe is a crush for the girl next door (Yamilah Saravong), but this only ends in a confusingly stupid gag and massive plot hole. At the same time, what should be a bonding moment between Dylan and his co-dads is turned into more fuel for competition and an opportunity for Gibson to spread his unfunny sexism. Meanwhile, Megan and Wahlberg's stepdaughter Adrianna (Didi Costine) lack just enough supervision to drink from the rum eggnog bowl, a rather serious issue that's brushed aside in favor of a lazy, completely unwarranted conclusion, making Daddy's Home 2 the lamest "together Christmas" ever!
For a more in-depth take on the movie, you can read our review of the Blu-ray SDR HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment brings Daddy's Home 2 to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy, which can be redeemed via ParamountMovies.com, giving users access to a 1080p HD copy, or VUDU, which unlocks the 4K Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos version. Inside the black, eco-vortex case with glossy slipcover, the dual-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region Free, BD50 copy. At startup, viewers are taken directly to a static screen with the usual selection along the bottom and music playing in the background.
Granddads visit for the holidays with suitcases packing an exceptional and often stunning HEVC H.265 encode in Dolby Vision HDR, showing razor-sharp clarity and resolution for a majority of the entire runtime. A few softer moments sprinkled throughout appear related to the original photography, an attempt to romanticize specific sequences, and they seem to stick out a bit more on Ultra HD. This is not necessarily bad, only more noticeable than on its Blu-ray counterpart.
Nevertheless, viewers can distinctly see sharper, more distinct details in the clothing and the surrounding foliage while appreciating the minute imperfections and the grain of the cabin's woodwork. One can clearly make out the individual tiny fuzzballs and the particular fabric of the comfy pajamas worn by the kids or the snuggly throw blankets. Each festive decoration and ornament is plainly visible and unmistakable throughout the cabin. Facial complexions not only appear healthy with better, rosier coloring, they also reveal the tiniest wrinkle in Gibson and Ferrell's face, every pore in Wahlberg and the smallest negligible blemish in the rest of the cast with lifelike textures. Sadly, there were a couple spots of very mild, practically negligible aliasing on the sharp edges of buildings, the stairs leading up to the cabin and some of the furniture from a distance. Aside from that, the picture quality is in excellent condition and sure to keeps viewers mesmerized.
Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the 4K presentation is noticeably brighter, more vibrant and highly energetic, offering several amazing demo-worthy sequences. Thanks to a sharp, pitch-perfect contrast, brilliantly crisp whites pop off the screen with intense luminosity, making the entire picture from start to finish lively and energetic. In the snow, the individual crystals sparkle in the sunlight, and the clothing is of a distinctly different shade from the radiant gray hair of both grandpas. The 2160p video also comes with excellent specular highlights, providing the fluffy clouds in the sky come with a picturesque glow and exposing some finer detailing around the twinkling Christmas lights. Brightness levels also offer a marked improvement over its HD SDR counterpart, delivering richer and deeper blacks in almost every scene, most notably in the hair of some of the cast members. Background information, during low-lit conversations, remains plenty visible and even in the darkest shadows, which admittedly there are not many of.
Being a holiday comedy, the cinematography is obviously designed to be as vibrant and colorful as possible, and as in other areas, the Dolby Vision presentation does not disappoint. Immediately, the primaries illuminate the screen with sumptuous brilliance and energy, bringing the holiday festivities home with a mesmerizing flamboyance. The traditional Christmas colors of reds and greens are richly saturated and appear slightly fuller, which is particularly true of Ferrell's snow jacket where the shoulders are more of a cherry red while the rest is a rose color. The blue in the sky is radiant, but the carpeting and walls of the theater in the final quarter are an ugly combination of indigo, cobalt, and navy. Softer secondary hues are also brimming with a boldness that further adds to the story's animated, happily-go-lucky cheer, providing facial complexions with an attractively realistic reddish tone, especially around the cheeks. The movie may be a disappointment, but the 4K video is terrific.
Despite sporting a fancy, newfangled doodad in the form of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the sequel doesn't leave much of an impression in the object-based audio family. There's no denying the design has its moments and takes advantage of the space provided in some spots, but overall, the spatial track relatively quiet and lackluster.
Of course, being a family comedy, this is understandable, if not also expected, where much of the attention and action is spread across the front soundstage, displaying excellent channel balance and fluid movement with convincing off-screen activity. While maintaining dialogue a high priority, the mid-range is also quite dynamic with clean distinction across the frequencies while an adequate, occasionally hearty low-end provides some appreciable presence. Then again, the hemispheric lossless mix is never really pushed particularly hard into the upper ranges, and the bass never digs any further than the midbass, which is already at average decibel levels. The surrounds are also largely silent apart from the periodic atmospheric effects, such as the infrequent noise of local wildlife, and there is even less occurring in the space above the listening area, except for one notable scene when the family watches a movie from the front row and the ceiling channels are suddenly employed for Liam Neeson's voice to boom overhead.
The New Dads in Town: Mel & John (HD, 8 min): Spotlight on the performances of Gibson and Lithgow.
Look Who's Back (HD, 7 min): Cast interviews on their respective characters and returning for the sequel.
Co-Dads: Will & Mark (HD, 7 min): Focused on the performances of Wahlberg and Ferrell.
Making a Sequel (HD, 5 min): Interviews on developing a follow-up after the first comedy's success.
Captain Sully (HD, 2 min): Very brief look at the pilot's surprising cameo appearance.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 11 min): Collection of six excised, alternate or extended scenes:
El Padre Stink Eye
Really Brad Advice
The Wise Man
Gag Reel (HD)
In Daddy's Home 2, the once-rivaling dads have graduated to BFF co-dads, discussing and coordinating events with each other and even planning a "together Christmas." Ferrell and Wahlberg reunite with the same comedic chemistry as before, but their sparks and holiday plans are interrupted by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow's own unique parenting styles, teaching audiences a valuable lesson on useless parenting. The comedy sequel crashes the 4K Ultra HD home with a gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR presentation and a good, if not somewhat slightly disappointing Dolby Atmos soundtrack. A small set of bonus features rounds out the package, but by the end of this wacky holiday adventure, only fans will want to visit this dysfunctional family.