DADDY'S HOME 2 (12A) .. ..
THE rotten apple never falls far from the tree and Sean Anders' mouldering sequel to his testosterone-fuelled 2015 comedy lands with a mightier thud than its ham-fisted predecessor.
Drenched in enough sickly festive spirit to make even the most ardent fan of Christmas gag and splutter "bah humbug", Daddy's Home 2 reunites Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as hapless parents with very different approaches to raising the same children.
Nice guy Brad Whitaker (Ferrell) and his wife's first husband, Dusty Mayron (Wahlberg), have called a truce for the sake of Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and her two children, Dylan (Owen Wilder Vaccaro) and Megan (Scarlett Estevez).
Biological father and stepfather are in sweet harmony, co-ordinating timetables to ensure they both attend important events, including an end of term performance where Megan publicly laments having to spend her Yuletide holiday in two locations.
Consequently, Brad and Dusty orchestrate a "together Christmas" that will include Dusty's wife Karen (Alessandra Ambrosio), his teenage stepdaughter Adrianna (Didi Costine) and the paternal grandparents.
Dusty's alpha-male father Kurt (Mel Gibson), who used to pilot NASA space shuttles, arrives with a swagger and immediately raises his son's hackles. Meanwhile, Brad's cuddly old man Don (John Lithgow) emerges from his plane without his wife in tow because she is caring for her brother who has a bad case of the shingles.
Kurt spitefully reopens old wounds between Brad and Dusty for personal amusement and when Adrianna's biological father Roger (John Cena) muscles in on the festivities, tidings of comfort and joy run dry.
Daddy's Home 2 is stuffed to bursting with lacklustre punchlines and mawkish sentiment.
Ferrell and Wahlberg go through the laboured motions while new additions to the cast are depressingly short on likeability and dramatic purpose.