The Bad Moms are back in another booze-flowing, f-bomb dropping, raunchy suburban adventure. This time around they’re joined by a trio of very different grandmothers. Who make the holidays even more stressful for their beleaguered families. A Bad Moms Christmas has an entirely predictable storyline. It plays out as expected with zero plot surprises. What works is the cast chemistry and their vulgar antics. The laughs are consistent throughout. A few are real gems that will have you rolling. Comedy trumps all in this textbook sequel.
The story picks up a year later with Amy (Mila Kunis) having her first Christmas since getting divorced. She’s dating Jessie (Jay Hernandez) and hopes to have a quiet holiday with her family. That plan goes to hell when her overbearing mother, Ruth (Christine Baranski), and meek father (Peter Gallagher), show up weeks early. Amy’s cohorts are also surprised by their visiting mothers. Kiki (Kristen Bell) is being smothered with affection by Sandy (Cheryl Hines). Hard-partying Carla (Kathryn Hahn) is a saint compared to her pot-smoking, gambling, and sex-obsessed mother, Isis (Susan Sarandon). Yes, even ISIS is a fount for laughs here. The mothers and grandmothers fight for Christmas supremacy leads to holiday chaos.
Scott Moore and Jon Lucas return as co-writers and directors. They keep it simple by reducing the narrative to a countdown. Amy narrates the story by counting down to Christmas. This allows the film to essentially be a collection of skits. Normally I would harp on the laziness of this set-up, but it is effective in this case. The powder puff plot is absolutely generic. Adding more lines to tie things together would have made the film tedious. This approach dispels with the build up and just puts the characters where they need to be.
Christine Baranski and Kathryn Hahn are the standouts. Mila Kunis is the straight woman in the center of the storm. I’ve honestly never found her to be funny, so she’s perfect as the narrator. Baranski, a brilliant actress in every regard, steals the show with her rigid petulance. Her character is very similar to the one she plays on TV’s The Big Bang Theory, a domineering mother obsessed with perfection. Kathryn Hahn’s job as a genital waxer never gets old. Her interaction with Susan Sarandon is the best mother daughter duo by far. They certainly got the crowd roaring in my theater. Kristen Bell and Cheryl Hines have their moments. Hines’ character is one-note with her daughter obsession. She’s a tremendous actress and should have been used more in the film. I would guess her part was cut down to make time for the Kunis, Baranski central arc.
From STX Films, A Bad Moms Christmas is generic but funny. Audiences that liked the first film will surely find this sequel enjoyable. It’s a low brow, mom power celebration. The grandmothers are funnier though. I would rather see a story with Baranski, Hines, and Sarandon as grandmothers going wild. They certainly have the talent, experience, and chemistry for their own story. Here’s hoping for “Bad Grandmas” next time around.