What’s more disturbing than the idea of three young moms behaving irresponsibly?
Well, you’re about to find out in A Bad Moms Christmas. This hit-and-miss sequel to last year’s bawdy comedy Bad Moms reunites best friends Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), while introducing us to each of their overbearing mothers who drop in on them over the holiday weekend.
Amy’s mother (Christine Baranski) is a dominating diva who doesn’t miss any opportunity to take a swipe at her daughter. Kiki’s mom (Cheryl Hines) is clingy to the point of obsession, getting the same haircut as her daughter, demanding to be her best friend, and buying the house next door to be closer to her. And then there’s Susan Sarandon playing Carla’s mom, a hard-drinking, doobie-smoking rock-n-roller who only shows up when she’s broke and needs a handout.
Written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore aka two men – and not just any two men, but the two men behind The Hangover – this film tries to find the sweet spot between crassness and comedy, frequently mistaking one for the other.
Unlike the earlier film, which gave its trio of leading ladies all the room to flex their comic chops, this sequel gives the older generation a chance to monopolize the naughty laughs. After opening with a lazy expositional voiceover to establish the stress of Christmas on mothers, the film hits its stride with the arrival of the Senior Moms.
They’re all three at the top of their game, but Baranski is in especially good form as the icy, disapproving control freak whose running joke about forgetting the existence of her daughter’s boyfriend are some of the film’s best bits.
There are some awkward laughs to be had from the surprisingly tender romance between Hahn’s character, who works at a spa, and a male stripper (Justin Hartley) who shows up to have his…umm…privates waxed.
Still, aside from some inspired portions, A Bad Moms Christmas feels formulaic and safe, and never as over-the-top as this kind of sequel needs to be. These moms may be bad, but they needed to be ‘badder’ for this film to truly fly. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five.
Rating: 2.5 / 5