By: Jessica Goddard
A Bad Moms Christmas, the holiday sequel to last year’s Bad Moms from the same writer/director team (Jon Lucas, Scott Moore) is generally fun, when it’s not trying to force sentimentality. It wouldn’t be accurate to say this movie takes itself seriously, but its insistence on crossing over into sappiness and raunchiness when it runs out of comedy is lazy and unfortunate.
The film plops Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn), and Kiki (Kristen Bell) into the most stressful time of the year – the week before Christmas. All of a sudden, their respective mothers show up on their respective doorsteps, seemingly intent on turning their Christmases upside down. The grandmothers, Ruth (Christine Baranski), Isis (Susan Sarandon), and Sandy (Cheryl Hines), are all written to be highly exaggerated, cartoonish adversaries (this kind of runs in contrast with the original premise of presenting the common mom’s frustrations in a fresh, realistic way, but who cares).
There is obvious potential for humour in A Bad Moms Christmas, and this movie certainly has some funny moments to offer; except when it’s confusing crude for hilarious. Really, what’s worthwhile here is the comedic talent of the cast. Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon stand out, even when the writing lets them down. The slow-motion montages of the main moms wreaking havoc in the mall are alright, and there’s another montage involving a lot of slapstick on trampolines which is also fine. But for the most part, the biggest laughs are from the occasionally well-written lines combined with excellent delivery.
That said, there’s not a lot about this script that’s smart or interesting or thoughtful, and half the time what’s going on barely makes sense. The first third has a good energy that feels like it’s heading in a promising direction. But then it becomes clear the whole movie was constructed around the novel idea that “moms also have moms”, without much more of a story outside of that fact. The last-minute resolutions are so rushed and awkward, you’re just waiting for it to be over.
A Bad Moms Christmas is fine as far as holiday comedies go, but it’s nothing groundbreaking in concept, or in what it has to offer humour-wise. But it’s light, it’s festive, and might even have you laughing long enough to momentarily forget about the upcoming stress of the holidays.
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Jessica Goddard: @TheJGod