Comedies involving families are ready-made to propagate a sequel – or a franchise – by simply adding to the gene pool. That’s why films like Big Momma’s House 3: Like Father, Like Son exist.

Bad Moms 2 introduced the bad moms’ moms, and now the daddies’ daddies are home for the holidays in this follow-up to the 2015 Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg hit.

Brad (Ferrell) and Dusty (Wahlberg) have settled their “co-dad” differences, until the intrusion of their own fathers at Christmas threatens to shake up their newfound domestic harmony.

Gruff ex-astronaut Kurt (Mel Gibson, still on the road to redemption) is Dusty’s dad, and John Lithgow is the wimpy father of Brad, who smooches and tells the kind of jokes that fall out of Christmas crackers.

Kurt immediately takes charge by booking a ski lodge; dragging the family off to a place where slapstick gags of the Griswold variety can ensue. A mobile phone tower is lopped down instead of a pine tree, and Christmas decorations become tangled in a snow blower. You get the idea. Then of course there’s the feel-good musical number to provide the mandatory spoonful of sugar.

There’s more formula here than a maternity ward, and while Daddy’s Home 2 falls into the trap of comedy sequels never being as funny as the original, it’s saved from being a total turkey by the loveable John Lithgow and the Ferrell/Wahlberg double act. Gibson’s womanising alpha male, however, is often at odds with the PG-rated antics and belongs in another movie.

Daddy’s Home 2 offers families an alternative to animated fare over the festive season, but the kids will be laughing more than their folks.

In cinemas: November 23, 2017
Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson
Directed by: Sean Anders