daddy's home two

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

Contributed photo

I mistakenly keep calling this thing “Bad Dads 2,” because I expected Susan Sarandon to pop over from a neighboring screen while I watched it.

But this is not “Bad Dads 2.” It’s “Daddy’s Home Two.” And it has no reason to exist except as a money grab to entice its multi-generational audience who will be familiar with its performers.

Months from now, I can just see the studio execs, sitting around a table somewhere in Beverly Hills, asking “Why not combine the ‘Bad Moms’ and the ‘Daddy’s Home’ franchises? Look at the broad demographic we’d reach!”

Heaven forbid.

Once again, Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) are co-parenting. But this time around they’re not in competition; rather, they’re working together as a team for the benefit of their shared families.

Then the dads’ dads show up (see why I keep thinking this is “Bad Dads 2?” It more than resembles “A Bad Moms Christmas.”) Brad’s dad is Don (John Lithgow) who plants a kiss on the lips of his son when the two are reunited at the airport.

Kurt (Mel Gibson) is Dusty’s testosterone-driven father, who insists that everyone travel to a mountain cabin to spend Christmas together.

Hijinks ensue. They aren't funny.

Despite the presence of children in the cast, this vulgar, slapstick-laden cinematic lump of coal truly is not for families. It’s mean-spirited, for one thing, with Gibson’s character cast as a cruel tough guy who mocks anything and anyone who is sensitive.

Gibson character is a hard-drinking, leering, womanizer who is far from likeable, and doesn’t belong anywhere near a “family” holiday movie. Here’s a grandfather trying to entertain his grandchildren with hooker jokes … Seriously? Who thought this was funny or a good idea?

For many, it will be impossible not to connect the character with Gibson’s real-life, troubled not-so-distant past.

The very screenplay is junk. Characters run around screaming, falling down and generally creating and indulging in chaos, as if the movie decided that if it were loud enough and active enough you won’t notice how awful it is.

There’s an ongoing joke about a thermostat that simply isn’t funny in the least. And a subplot about a boy who soon may have his first kiss disintegrates into a sleazy disaster that’s more appalling than funny.

The show ends with one of the most ridiculous sequences ever filmed in a movie theater, a faux Capra finale that’s contrived as can be.

Don’t indulge in this tasteless turkey during the holidays or any other time of year.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Broadcast Film Critics Association member. College instructor for criminal justice, English and math. Serves on Safer Foundation and The Salvation Army advisory boards. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church