Film Review: A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS has no holiday cheer for anyone
Courtesy of STX Entertainment
If you find yourself watching "A Bad Moms Christmas" and thinking how cheap and lazy the movie feels, that's because it is. A quickly assembled, cash grab sequel, with no spirit or heart. "Bad Moms Christmas" arrives a meager 15 months after the surprise smash hit of last summer grossed a whopping $150 million worldwide, thus cementing a "Bad Moms" franchise. Unlike the first movie (which I enjoyed very much), "Bad Moms 2" never get it's footing off the ground, with no laughs that ever stick, and a cliche story line about how the holidays are never filled with cheer.
Taking a step back from the crude and raunchy audacity that made the first one so memorable, "A Bad Moms Christmas" takes a more conventional approach, and boy does it suffer. Anyone that's been a mom, or grown up with a loving mother figure, understands the frantic pacing and demands the holiday season brings. That's the type of background this sequel wants us to buy into, and while it brings back the "rat pack" themselves (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn) - it doesn't click on the same level "Bad Moms" manage to create less than two years ago. Except this time, in a dash of adding something new to the dynamic, the grandmas show up and they each represent their daughters as you'd expect.
Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines step up to those duties (and all but guaranteeing "Bad Grandmas" is coming soon.) Baranski is the ruthless tyrant who shows up with her own agenda of making Christmas special (which, for some reason, includes watching the five hour long uncut version of "The Nutcracker") - and Amy (Kunis) just wants to do Christmas her way. Meanwhile, Sandy (Cheryl Hines) rolls into town for the season and all but forces Kiki (Bell) to pull her hair out. In a memorable, but unfunny, scene Sandy sits in a dark corner and watches her daughter and her husband start to have sex. I say memorable because it was just creepy, and I was left to wonder why any parent would ever do this. And then there's Carla (Hahn - who stole the show in "Bad Moms" and struggles to sell the material here) has the most healthy relationship of the bunch with her mom, Isis (Sarandon). Yes, like the terrorist group, how clever. Eventually they all meet up for a battle royale of sorts, and the real hijinks ensues.
If you remember watching "Girls Trip" this past summer, then you got a taste of how raunchy comedies should fare better. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore step back into the directing and writing chairs respectively, and I'm not surprised the quality lacks, because of how quick they turned this one out. Whereas "Bad Moms" took a formula and let it develop over time.
Sure, the moms get drunk while Christmas shopping, steal a tree, and twerk on Santa Claus (the constant image plastered over the marketing). But isn't that something we've seen before? Instead of being it's own thing, like most sequels, "Bad Moms 2" is simply a highlight reel. And the more it drags on, the harder it becomes to witness. As it was inching closer to the hour mark, I was eyeing the exit door.
In an attempt to spare you seeing the movie, I'll disclose the best laugh in the whole thing. Towards the end of the film, Amy's mother throws a huge Christmas bonanza, and jazz legend Kenny G makes a brief cameo. Amy makes a comment about how he needs to leave with his flute and he goes "it's not a flute, bitch."
At least Kenny G knows he's in a R rated comedy of wits, and represents the only inspired moment in the film. The box office, of course, will solidify the making of this laughless and abysmal debacle. Yet, for a film that's supposed to spread holiday cheer, "A Bad Moms Christmas" doesn't have any. Humbug. D-