Paddingon 2 review: A Bad Dad Joint
I have an inflexible parenting strategy, and that parenting strategy is this: bad art is not allowed into our children’s minds. By bad art I don’t mean obscene art (although that isn’t ideal either, I suppose), but movies or TV shows so bad that I try to stab my eyes out with a spoon just to distract myself from the pain. My wife - who is literally the best human ever - believes you should let kids determine what they want to watch, but that’s how you end up like this, so I guess my wife is only almost the best human ever because she is wrong.
So here’s the deal. Each month I’m going to go see a children’s movie that’s in theaters - or one available via HuNetAzon - and answer these questions, three: 1) Is it, objectively, any good? 2) Is it, subjectively, something you as a bad dad will enjoy watching? 3) is it, most importantly, something that will #occupy your kid’s attention long enough for you, the titular Bad Dad, to have a well-earned break from playing 1,000,000 Questions with your 3-year-old.
So, Paddington 2: Paddpocalypse Rising:
If you’re unfamiliar with Paddington, he’s a bear. He wears a hat. My 3 year old was super excited to realize the hat is the same one on his Paddington doll, so that was a win. Paddington likes marmalade a lot, and a bunch of plotlines revolve around that fact, which seems strange because a bear liking something sweet seems unremarkable. Like, no one seems all that surprised that I drink coffee every day, and the only life plotlines that revolve around that involve a generalized anxiety disorder and not some quirky series of misadventures.
Anyway, Paddington gets into sundry mishaps that are cute and clumsy and whatnot. Also in this movie he gets thrown in jail and it looks like maybe he’s gonna get shivved, but then he doesn’t and everything is okay. Also Hugh Grant is in this, and he’s pretty great. That’s the plot, mostly.
So is this movie objectively good? Well it has an unheard of perfect rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so I think the answer is supposed to be yes? I’ll say this, if you’re in to the technical aspects of filmmaking, this movie is freaking brilliant. It’s the kid version of a Wes Anderson movie, precocious and precise and nostalgic and absolutely visually stunning. There’s a scene early on where a pop-up book comes to life and it’s one of the most magical moments I’ve seen in a movie this year. And considering the main character is a CGI bear who doesn’t - you know - actually exist, the way the actors seamlessly interact with what is presumably IRL a green ball on a stick is pretty amazing.
Will you enjoy it? I mean it’s not too bad, for sure. It’s got Mad Eye Moody in it, so that’s fun. I’d say it’s better than The Emoji Movie, but that movie turned Captain Picard into a literal turd so that’s a low bar. The problem is, like the OG Paddington film, it moves pretty slow. The whole concept of the Paddington movies is that he’s a lovable bear in a lovable world where people are general lovable and love wins, but that also means the movie isn’t zipping along from action scene to action scene.
So will your kid like it? Let’s put it this way, my 3 year old human child made it an hour in and then was bored and wanted to go home; however, if you have an older child, or a child crazy into Paddington, or a child who just likes to sit and stare at things, you can do a lot worse than this movie.
So my official Bad Dad rating for this film is 3 out of 5 properly coiffed mustaches.
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