UK Release Date: 3rd November 2017
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Writer: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon, Jay Hernandez, Justin Hartley
Synopsis: The trio of mothers from the first film are trying to create the perfect Christmas for their families, but find things further complicated when their own mothers arrive.
Bad Moms arrived as something of a pleasant surprise last year, delivering its fair share of lewd comedy and a reasonable amount of heart. We soon got wind of a sequel and it transpired the follow-up would be set in the heat of the festive season. In perhaps the most obvious sequel move in the history of sequel moves, A Bad Moms Christmas decides to turn the mummy-related carnage up a notch by introducing another generation of women – the bad moms’ bad moms, if you will.
This immediately sets up a selection of very obvious comedic pathways for the film. Amy (Mila Kunis) wants a relaxing Christmas and so inevitably clashes with her uptight mother (Christine Baranski), who is desperate for a ‘perfect’ festive fiesta. Meanwhile, Kiki’s (Kristen Bell) struggles go beyond juggling her kids when her overbearing mother (Cheryl Hines) turns up and is so devoted to her that she gets the same haircut and clothes. In fact, it’s only Carla (Kathryn Hahn) who is pleased to see her mother (Susan Sarandon), who often goes AWOL to go on the road with bands.
The problem with A Bad Moms Christmas is it fundamentally loses sight of what made the first movie so enjoyable – the chemistry between the three central women. In giving each of them a mother and, therefore a subplot entirely separate to their friends, the film seriously cuts down on the amount of time for the easy rapport to ricochet between the trio as each of the talented comedy performers has the room to improvise within the comfort of an established dynamic.
Directing duo Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are acutely aware from the start that they’re making a Christmas movie and so it feels as if they’re trapped in an arms race to include as many seasonal clichés as they can fit in their stockings. Given the fact the movie arrived in November, it’s clear the filmmakers have as much grasp of big screen comedy as they do of how calendars work. Where the first Bad Moms had an easy-going, freewheeling feel, this one seems to be mired in desperation and throwing in a bit of Christmas music whenever there’s a pause in the over-cranked set pieces.
This is a Christmas comedy with no characters, no laughter and no heart. Rather than embracing the anarchic joys of the first Bad Moms movie, this falls back on lame Christmas movie tropes and obvious emotional beats. If you’re in search of your first festive turkey, look no further than this.
Pop or Poop?
The enjoyable originality of Bad Moms here gives way to a common-or-garden Christmas movie without even a single sparkling idea to place atop its tree. The new additions to the comedy ensemble slip into their roles in perfectly decent fashion, but the script simply gives them predictable narrative beats and lame slapstick set pieces.
Most unforgivably, though, A Bad Moms Christmas robs us of Kunis, Bell and Hahn sharing a tray of shots and swearing at each other for 10 minutes. That’s all I wanted. Leave the sleigh bells at home.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.