By: BabyRuth (Five Beers) –
Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise hit. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn starred as a trio of mothers who, fed up with the pressures and demands of being perfect, decided to say “fuck that shit” and be, well, bad. Not really, they just drank a lot and told off/stood up to the people who were mean to them, took them for granted, or were too demanding. There were hijinks. There was lots of swearing. Then everything worked out in the end and everyone was better off and happy. It was a decent weekend afternoon watch and had some funny parts. It was fine.
It really didn’t require a sequel though. Once the credits rolled, I didn’t feel a burning need to someday revisit these people to see what happens next in their lives. But here we are, a little over a year later, with A Bad Moms Christmas (I guess the lack of apostrophe in the title means it’s supposed to read like they’re a singing group or something and it’s their Christmas special. You know what I mean? As in, they are The Bad Moms™ not just some random bad moms who are having Christmas? I don’t know… I’m done thinking about this. I’m mad enough I have to devote time to writing this review. Oops, spoiler alert: I hated this movie.)
Even though the vomit is barely dry on Sexy Cat costumes everywhere with this movie being released literally one day after Halloween, it’s time to deck the goddamn halls!
The Bad Moms™ : Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell), and Carla (Hahn) are each preparing in their own way. Amy decorates, bakes, shops, wraps, and repeats while narrating just how tough the holidays are for mothers (so I guess the reset button has been pushed after the last movie?). Kiki wears a lot of festive sweaters. Carla gripes about all the trees she has to trim. By “trees” I mean vaginas or as she eloquently puts it, “pussies,” because she works at a spa, in case you forgot (I did). Tis the season!
Everything gets disrupted when the moms’ own mothers show up. And get this—they are each wacky in their own way! Amy’s awesomely-named mother Ruth (Christine Baranski) barges in and overrides Amy’s plans for a quiet and chill holiday with a complete schedule of over-the-top activities, while never missing an opportunity to belittle and criticize her daughter. Sandy (Cheryl Hines) goes all Single White Female on Kiki. Susan Sarandon plays Carla’s mother Isis (oh you read that name right), a drifter who only visits when she needs money.
Amy, Kiki, and Carla again must join forces and this time, “take Christmas back!”
Only, they really don’t. They kind of put up with shit for an hour until they finally stand up for themselves and then are made to feel bad about it (even though they were all completely justified) while the older moms see their errors and everyone apologizes in an abrupt and jarring tonal shift. Then they are all happy and do silly dancing during the end credits.
That’s it, you’re welcome. Seriously, don’t waste your time and money going to see this.
This is one of those movies that’s infuriating because it’s such a waste of a good cast.
But, other than signing on, it’s not their fault, so cheers to the very funny (just not in this movie) and talented women. Kunis, Bell, and (especially) Hahn fully commit and swing for the fences, doing their best to try to pull some laughs out of the lazy material.
The casting of the Moms’ moms is inspired. Hahn and Sarandon have the best chemistry and are the most believable mother-daughter combo of the three pairs. Cheryl Hines annoyed the hell out of me, but I guess that was the point, so kudos! Baranski’s overbearing, overcritical, perfectionist mother is basically the same character as the one she plays on The Big Bang Theory (shut up, you watch it and know exactly what I am talking about), but she does it so damn well and easily steals the movie.
The men are pretty much glorified extras whose only purpose is to react to all the “zaniness” with the exception of Justin Hartley who shows up as a potential love interest for Carla. He’s pretty great as the sweet and extremely well-endowed firefighter/exotic dancer/fantasy for the drunk women target audience who wins her heart during a ball-waxing session, but again, would have benefited from better writing.
Have I mentioned that this movie is not funny? Not even a little. I didn’t laugh once. I didn’t even almost-laugh once. It’s that lazy type of humor (no surprise, with Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore at the helm once again) full of “shocking” sight gags, foul language as the punchline, and no actual comedy.
There are a few attempts to set up and execute a genuine joke between all the “fucks,” “taints,” and penis-shaped cookies, but Lucas and Moore manage to screw those up.
For example, Baranski’s character plans to throw an elaborate Christmas party in Amy’s home and talks about hiring Kenny G. Then she mentions it several more times throughout the film. Gee, do you think Kenny G is going to make a cameo? Is the audience actually supposed to be surprised when he shows up? The way you do something like this is, you mention it once, ONCE, and then pay it off later. (Last year’s Why Him? also botched this.)
Similarly, the aforementioned ball-waxing scene, clearly designed to be the sequence everyone’s going to be talking about, starts out with a funny concept but then goes on and on until it all the humor is sucked out of the idea. Same with Hines’ character’s guilt-trip attempts of announcing she has made-up diseases.
The first movie worked (for the most part) because the characters and situations were believable and relatable.
But that all goes right the hell out the window here. Everyone in this movie is such an over-the-top caricature that not one person (okay, maybe Amy’s boyfriend) would actually exist in real life.
Likewise, in what world would these situations occur? How can you find and close on a house in two days? Wouldn’t one get arrested for stealing a Christmas tree from a busy store (or also, groceries right out of people’s carriages)? How about for sexually assaulting a mall Santa? How can a person (even Christine Baranski) completely redecorate a house, order food and drinks, hire employees, and find a camel in five hours?
Most importantly, where are these malls whose food courts serve beer?
While I didn’t hate the first Bad Moms, I have a hard time remembering a lot of it. The main thing I do recall is the slow-mo montage of the moms getting drunk and going grocery shopping. That’s likely the standout scene most people remember, so in A Bad Moms Christmas we get another, nearly shot-for-shot, montage of the moms behaving badly—this time at a mall.
Why stop there? How about another montage of the families at SkyZone (who likely footed a large portion of this movie’s budget)? But why limit the montages at SkyZone to just one? How about TWO montages at SkyZone? More is better, right?!
There are so many friggin’ montages I lost count.
Like in the first movie, when the running time calls for it, everything must be resolved in a big sentimental finale. Despite Kunis and Baranski’s best efforts (and they are both excellent when they get to show real range) it’s unearned and feels slapped on.
This is, quite possibly, the worst (in the bad way) holiday movie I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Santa With Muscles (which coincidentally also had Mila Kunis in it). Skip this lazy cash-grab sequel that contains nothing that made the first movie fun (and funny).
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever a character does (go easy)
Take a Drink: whenever Ruth gives her grandchildren wrapped gifts while telling them the very expensive contents
Take a Drink: for every:
- “fuck” (two when a child says it)
Take a Drink: whenever Ruth doesn’t remember meeting Amy’s boyfriend Jesse
Take a Drink: every time Kenny G is mentioned.
Do a Shot: when Kenny G shows up
Do a Shot: for every montage