Dan's Review: "A Bad Moms Christmas" is truly bad
Nov 01, 2017 06:49PM
● By Dan Metcalf
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn in A Bad Moms Christmas - © 2017 STX Entertainment
A Bad Moms Christmas (STX Entertainment)
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use.
Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon, Jay Hernandez, Justin Hartley, Peter Gallagher, Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, David Walton, Wanda Sykes, Lyle Brocato, Cade Mansfield Cooksey.
Written and Directed by Scott Moore and Jon Lucas.
As a rule, most movies with the word “Bad” in the title tend to live up to their billing. Sure, there are exceptions (The Bad News Bears wasn’t so bad) but for the most part, such movies try a little too hard to be bad. One other exception was last year’s Bad Moms, starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Katherine Hahn as three mothers who are fed up with the constant societal pressures on mothers. Yes, it was raunchy, but there was some charm in there, and not-so-bad message about moms dealing with “perfect” expectations. Before finishing its run on pay-cable channels, the studios got a sequel up and running, which brings us to A Bad Moms Christmas, in theaters this week.
Kunis is back as the main character Amy, a divorced mother of two trying to prepare for the coming holidays with her new beau Jesse (Jay Hernadez). Kristen Bell reprises her role as Kiki, mother of three demanding kids and wife to a somewhat distant, but well-meaning husband (Lyle Brocato). Hahn is back as the crass single mom Carla, whose son (Cade Mansfield Cooksey) is somewhat oblivious to her lack of propriety. Adding to the pressures of the holidays, the mothers of all three “Bad” moms conveniently show up the week before Christmas. Amy’s judgmental mom Ruth (Christine Baransky) immediately adds to the stress as her dad (Peter Gallagher) remains mostly silent. Kiki’s widowed mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines), brings added tension to her home by clinging a little too hard to her daughter. Coincidentally, Carla’s mom Isis (Susan Sarandon) also appears at her doorstep, bringing all her rebellious baggage along. The three pals put up with all their moms’ pressures until they reach their breaking point and indulge in a lot of “bad” behavior to ease the tension. Their plans to “do Christmas” their own way falls short, leading to great confrontations with their moms.
A Bad Moms Christmas lacks the charm and subtlety (yes, there was some) of the original, and tries to make up for it by heaping on extra raunchy behavior, foul language, drugs/alcohol and sexual humor. Yes, those things were funny in Bad Moms, but underneath those vices there was a little introspection and a positive theme on giving yourself a break. A Bad Moms Christmas tries too hard to reiterate the same message of the original film, while trying to fix life-long matriarchal dysfunction within a few “touching” scenes between the elder moms and their adult daughters at the end of the movie.
It’s a less-than-conspicuous “money-grab” sequel that feels rushed – because it is. A Bad Moms Christmas is another in a long line of dysfunctional family Christmas comedies that plague the holidays, like that awful fruit cake that never goes away. Sure there may be an audience for a little wild movie fun among women, but when you add extra genitalia, alcohol and aging gags to the hackneyed theme, you get a Christmas movie that is truly “bad.”
A Bad Moms Christmas Trailer