Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story that's funny but never particularly clever. It's an enjoyable bit of escapist entertainment, mixing some sharp gags in between the more obvious jokes. But while the script makes a feeble attempt to poke fun at over-the-top machismo, it indulges in relentless gender stereotyping.
Now best buddies, co-dads Dusty and Brad (Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell) decide to combine their families to celebrate Christmas this year. Then Dusty's estranged tough-guy dad Kurt (Mel Gibson) turns up, as does Brad's more touchy-feely father Don (John Lithgow). This raises issues for both Dusty and Brad, who are clearly chips off the old blocks. They may be united in their love for their kids (Owen Vaccaro, Scarlett Estevez and Didi Costine), but old rivalries spark as they take the family to a huge mountain cabin with their wives (Alessandra Ambrosio and Linda Cardellini). What follows is a combination of wacky slapstick and various forms of sabotage as Dusty and Brad's bromance is put through the wringer.
None of this is remotely original, with elaborate set-pieces that feel like they've been lifted wholesale from other holiday comedies. And the plot is never remotely surprising either. But the actors have chemistry, and invest some sparkiness in their characters. Much of the antics centre on the clash between Gibson and Lithgow, who play up the aggression and sweetness, respectively. It's badly exaggerated, but the actors throw themselves into the roles, and the interaction between the three generations is nutty enough to keep the audience chuckling even through some rather stupid gags. The filmmakers seem to think that crazed conflict is hilarious, but actually the funniest moments are when Walhberg and Ferrell are working together to approach a problem.
Continue reading: Daddy's Home 2 Review
An odd mix of sentimental family warmth and gross-out antics, this comedy doesn't have the courage of its own convictions, which means that it's not quite funny enough to keep the audience fully entertained. That said, there are just about enough laughs that hit the target, and the big-hearted humour is surprisingly endearing, with larger themes that resonate even when the filmmakers get bogged down in the strained rude jokes.
Will Ferrell plays Brad, a guy who can't have kids but has always wanted to be a dad. So when he marries Sarah (Linda Cardellini), he enthusiastically dives into the stepdad role with her children (Owen Vaccaro and Scarlett Estevez). Then just as they're finally warming to him, their biological father Dusty (Mark Walhberg) turns up, clearly determined to win his family back. What follows is a battle between a too-nice dork and a super-cool biker, competing for the affections of both Sarah and the kids. Brad gets some terrible advice from his boss (Thomas Haden Church), while Dusty recruits a handyman (Hannibal Buress) to back his side.
There's plenty of potential in this premise, but the filmmakers refuse to make the decision about who the film is aimed at. It's too vulgar to be family entertainment, but it's not edgy enough to properly appeal to adults. So it sits there genially, occasionally sparking a burst of laughter or a knowing smile. But the plot never makes any sense, mainly because to make it work the filmmakers portray Brad as a complete and utter loser until the moment the movie needs him to be the good guy. All of which is painfully predictable, complete with shamelessly sappy moralising. Thankfully, the cast can play these kinds of characters effortlessly, and both Ferrell and Walhberg add details that keep the audience engaged.
Continue reading: Daddy's Home Review
'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues' stars Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are snapped on the red carpet at the New York premiere held at the Beacon Theatre. The comediennes are new additions to the cast which also sees the return of the old news team led by Will Ferrell.
Sandra Bullock talks about researching her role as a cop in Boston in a brief interview on the red carpet at the New York premiere for 'The Heat' held at the Ziegfeld Theater. 'White Chicks' star Marlon Wayans and 'The Blue Lagoon' actress Brooke Shields with her husband Chris Henchy are also snapped at the event.
Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year). It's still pretty stupid, but it's so unapologetically over-the-top that we're consistently entertained. And it helps that the filmmakers are clearly aware of how ridiculous the plot is, so they push it even further.
The film opens with a horror-style version of the Grimm Brothers' fable, then jumps years ahead as Hansel and Gretel (Renner and Arterton) achieve notoriety as bounty hunters specialising in tracking down and dispatching witches. When they arrive in a small village, they rescue innocent young Mina (Viitala) from the bloodthirsty mayor (Stormare), then vow instead to capture the area's real wicked witch Muriel (Janssen). The sheriff is sure they're con artists, so forms his own posse. Meanwhile, Hansel tentatively falls for Mina, and the duo also meet their teen super-fan Ben (Mann), who joins them as they head into the woods.
Norwegian writer-director Wirkola has created a gonzo action-horror movie out of the familiar bedtime story, complete with wildly outrageous creatures, fiery battles and almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Renner and Arterton strut through medieval Europe like 21st century action heroes, wearing skin-tight leather, head-butting their foes, swearing like sailors and shooting massive guns at anything that moves. In other words, Wirkola's approach is essentially satirical, which allows him to indulge in astounding levels of grisly violence without it ever getting too nasty.
Continue reading: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review
Will Ferrell's funniest movie in years, this is a silly comedy with a terrible sentimental streak, but the political satire running through it is dead on. In fact, the film's opening act is razor-sharp as it lampoons election campaigning with knowing jabs at corporate sponsorship, incumbent laziness and the difficulty of being an honest candidate. So it's disappointing when the film becomes soppy and stupid.
Ferrell creates a memorable comical character in Cam Brady, a five-term North Carolina congressman up for re-election. He's sure he will coast his way back into office, and is only mildly worried when naive local goofball Marty Huggins (Galifianakis) runs against him. Marty certainly isn't ready for the slick attacks orchestrated by Cam's campaign manager (Sudeikis). But two wealthy brothers (the underused Lithgow and Aykroyd) are bankrolling Marty's campaign in the hopes of turning the district into a Chinese sweatshop, so they hire a ruthless press officer (McDermott) to whip Marty into shape. And the game is on.
Even though the characters are cartoonish, what they do is eerily authentic. Cam is a smooth operator with strong hair and a womanising streak. He also believes he can do whatever he wants as long as he mentions "America, Jesus and freedom" in every speech. By contrast, Marty is camp and silly, with a plump wife (Baker) and kids, plus a pair of pet pugs that Cam instantly labels as "Communist Chinese dogs!" Their clashes are a riot of parody and slapstick, some of which is sharply pointed (neither says anything substantial) and some is just ridiculous (including a hilarious cameo from Uggy, the dog from The Artist).
Continue reading: The Campaign Review
New York cops Gamble and Hoitz (Ferrell and Wahlberg) have been relegated to unimportant positions by two teams of flashier detectives (Jackson/Johnson and Wayans/Riggle). But when Gamble arrests a millionaire investor (Coogan) for a minor infraction, he and Hoitz are plunged into a murky case involving a ruthless Aussie goon (Stevenson) and bribed city officials. Even their captain (Keaton) tells them to leave it alone, but Gamble can't let go and Hoitz sees this as a chance to stop being the "other guys".
Continue reading: The Other Guys Review
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