DADDY’S HOME 2 (12A) *

Dir: Sean Anders

With: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell

Loading article content

Runtime: 100 minutes

WELL here we all are again, another charming festive tale of a dad and step-dad learning to put their differences aside for the sake of the children in their blended families. Except this time someone has had the stupendously bad idea of adding Mel Gibson to the mix as a grandfather, so instead of heartwarming comedy think heartburn-inducing disaster. Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell (plus the always sweet John Lithgow as Ferrell’s father) plod through the motions of delivering a family picture, and some moments may make you smile, but there is no way back from the decision to cast uber-macho boor Gibson as Wahlberg’s dinosaur of a dad. Gibson has always been to comedy what Santa Claus is to Easter, but every time he appears on screen he kills any notion of seasonal fun stone dead. A bad year for Hollywood just got worse with this horribly misjudged cash-in.

alison rowat

SUBURBICON (15) **

Dir: George Clooney

With: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore

Runtime: 105 minutes

A bungled home invasion in a pristine, picket-fenced 1950s American community provides the catalyst for George Clooney’s darkly comic crime caper starring Matt Damon as a family man, who conceals dark secrets from his young son. The two narrative strands of Clooney’s film – bigotry and deceit – are awkwardly woven together and as a thriller, the film telegraphs its cold-blooded intentions so far in advance, that the only mystery is how the police are blind to the skulduggery in a post-war paradise of manicured lawns, voluminous skirts and dutiful housewives. Based on a 30-year- old script by the Coen Brothers, it’s a predictable tale of crime and punishment, which oozes period style but lacks suspense and a satisfying pay-off.