A Bad Moms Christmas
A mere 15 months after the release of the unexpectedly riotous yet far from groundbreaking Bad Moms comes its comparably raunchy follow-up A Bad Moms Christmas, a film nearly as funny and entertaining as the original, definitely as mawkish and a good bit more hypocritical.
Accidentally (?) copying the homework of the forthcoming Daddy’s Home 2, the second go-round with divorcee Amy (Mila Kunis), sheltered mother of four Kiki (Kristen Bell) and wild child Carla (Kathryn Hahn) finds the friends contending with their moms visiting for Christmas, all of whom qualify as “bad” in their own special way.
But first, returning writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore lazily — yet sadly accurately — paint the holiday as a non-stop merry-go-round of fake cheer and obligations, one whose ridiculousness the trio recognize and against which they take a purported revolutionary stand to “take back” and have a more relaxed end of December.
Compromising those plans are the early and/or unannounced arrivals of Kiki’s frighteningly clingy mother Sandy (Cheryl Hines), Carla’s deadbeat drifter female parental unit Isis (Susan Sarandon) and Amy’s controlling, judgmental robo-mom Ruth (Christine Baranski), the latter of whom comes with the thoroughly confusing accessory of Peter Gallagher as her supportive and allegedly dimwitted husband.
The various permutations of the gal pals, their matriarchs (and patriarch) and children yield a decent amount of snorts and giggles, but it’s in the big comic set pieces that A Bad Moms Christmas truly shines.
At the head of the pack is Carla’s nether-region waxing sequence of exotic dancer Ty Swindel (Justin Hartley) — a remarkable stretch of sustained humor nearly topped by Wanda Sykes’ return as Kiki’s no-nonsense, foul-mouthed therapist.
Straying from the humor, however, the film is far less successful. The trio’s falling outs with their moms aren’t just predictable, they’re synchronized, and the about-face solutions each attempts to co-exist with the woman that carried them for nine months — and in turn “save” the holiday they swore to simplify — feel dishonest at best.
Worse still is having to once more endure Amy’s bitch ass kids Dylan (Emjay Anthony) and Jane (Oona Lawrence, who should really be steered away from the arts). Gleeful to accept outrageous gifts from their grandmother without taking issue with her treatment of their mom, the two ungrateful brats make it difficult to believe that Amy would go to such lengths to please them and further dilute the already watered-down sequel.
Grade: C-plus. Rated R. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: STX Entertainment)