“A Bad Moms Christmas”

LOUISA: 2 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

In a hurry to make a cash grab holiday-themed sequel? Out of original ideas? Then why not bring in well established actors who are also bad moms themselves?

And so it goes yet again with the latest ‘we didn’t ask for it’ sequel, “A Bad Moms Christmas,” the insipid follow up to 2016’s women behaving badly hit. It’s as formulaic as they come, yet it’s sometimes pretty funny and therefore not completely unwatchable.

It’s now late December and three bad moms, Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) are fed up with the demands and stresses of the holiday season. Scrambling to create the perfect family Christmas, the ladies are thrown for a loop when their mothers show up. There’s Amy’s demanding mom Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki’s smothering mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines), and Carla’s irresponsible rock and roll mom Isis (Susan Sarandon). Holiday havoc ensues, from getting hammered at the mall food court to destroying an extravagant Christmas display to finding “the one” while waxing the butt of a sexy Santa Claus stripper (Justin Hartley). By the end, closer relationships are discovered and restored, and everything’s wrapped up in a tidy little bow.

The casting choices are inspired, and I can’t think of any better women to play these roles. Sarandon and Hahn are perfectly matched, a dynamic loudmouth comedy duo who can riff with the best of them. While the women can be a little outrageous and frequently over the top, they never feel like they are singularly hollow caricatures. These actors have near exact comic timing which makes it seem effortless for them to land their one-liners. These ladies do not have to lean solely on the practice of dropping f-bombs disguised as actual humor. Of course, the male characters (Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher) are once again pushed to the sidelines of insignificance.

Yeah, the movie has some genuine laugh out loud moments and the charismatic actors keep their characters interesting, but the movie is redundant in its predictability, stuffed with thinly disguised commercial endorsements (for brands like Sky Zone, Apple, and Tory Burch), and hits a saturation point with its mostly unfunny vagina and penis jokes. The touching moments really do come from a place of sincerity, however, and screenwriters / directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore nail the complicated relationships between a grown daughter and her mother.

I could see “A Bad Moms Christmas” becoming a holiday tradition for those women who like to wrap presents while simultaneously clutching a bottle of tequila in their free hand. This is far from a great movie but if you enjoyed the original and need to let off a little steam, this one won’t be a waste of your time.

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