2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)
Watching A Bad Mom’s Christmas is like reuniting with old college friends after a few years apart and realizing that you were better off moving on from them. The original Bad Moms was a solid mixture of wild raunch and unexpectedly effective sentiment that made me appreciate all the pain my mom must have gone through raising me. The sequel ups the heart of its predecessor but makes the fatal mistake of turning down the party elements (despite those elements comprising much of the film’s marketing materials), leaving the feel of a Hallmark Channel movie if it was written by a college freshman. While some of A Bad Mom’s Christmas is quite funny, those funny bits are drowned out by forced mama drama and undercooked holiday messages. This movie should make me want to go out and party, not contemplate the stability of my relationship with my parents.
The film again follows our 3 heroines, Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) during the Christmas season, “the Super bowl for moms”. Each is at the top of their respective worlds, with Amy enjoying a good relationship with her boyfriend (Jay Hernandez), Kiki finally getting her husband to contribute around the house, and Carla having a successful Brazilian wax emporium. With lives this good, it’s only a matter of time before those lives shatter into supposed hilarity.
And that happens when their three cartoonishly exaggerated moms appear out of the blue: Amy’s judgmental matriarch Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki’s uncomfortably clingy mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines), and Carla’s absentee party mom Isis (Susan Sarandon getting the most laughs). The three ladies attempt to have the best Christmas possible despite their moms’ presence, something that proves much harder than anticipated.
I did not have high hopes for this movie. A majority of comedy sequels attempt to rehash the formula of their predecessor, which I honestly wouldn’t have minded here. The film’s ambitions far outreach its grasp, wanting to combine raunchy jokes and emotional drama despite having advertised a turn-your-brain-off party film. Much of the comedy on display is predictable sex humor, a routine which gets old quickly. While the original was certainly raunchy, it also had a decent amount of witty writing and effective shock value to balance it out. Ironically, these raunchy sequences are much more preferable than those in which the film attempts to make us cry. This is A Bad Mom’s Christmas, not Marley & Me. Give me crazy booze and madcap antics, not fully-grown adults breaking down over issues that should have been resolved years ago.
A Bad Mom’s Christmas has good intentions and a few solid laughs, but can’t get the perfect balance of hilarity and heart amassed by its predecessor. Its attempt to expand on the characters drowns out the fun vibe that made the first one stand out, replacing it with forced “emotion” that perplexed me to no end. While it’s certainly not the worst sequel I’ve ever seen, this is one Christmas you’re better off skipping.
Rated R for Crude Sexual Content And Language Throughout, And Some Drug Use
PS: There is a sequel-beg with their mothers at the end: I can only imagine the awkwardness that might be Bad Grandmas.
PSS: To my horror, there actually IS a movie called Bad Grandmas that isn’t even related to this series.
This title is available to rent on Amazon here
Bad Moms is available to rent on Amazon here
Marley & Me is available to rent on Amazon here
Bad Grandmas (yes, this actually exists) is available to rent on Amazon here