They’re more naughty than nice. Watch these bad moms take on the holiday season.
Kristen Bell (from left), Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn return for holiday high jinks in ‘A Bad Moms Christmas.’(Photo: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle, STX Entertainment)
Who knew a movie could need more gingerbread phalluses and stripping Santas?
Last year’s Bad Moms was a surprise underdog hit filled with rebellious mothers who liked to party and a fight against the PTA establishment. Gone is the same cleverness in the mediocre sequel A Bad Moms Christmas (** out of four; rated R; in theaters nationwide Wednesday), which adds star power but unfortunately downshifts the craziness to dive into full Hallmark Channel schmaltz.
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn return as the central trio of underappreciated women whose next mission involves saving the season when their own bad moms come to town — coincidentally, all arriving six days before Christmas.
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The follow-up is set just after the original movie. Amy (Kunis) is in her natural state of constant stress but is dating hunky single dad Jessie (Jay Hernandez), whom she hooked up with at the end of the previous movie. They’re in a new relationship and feeling out their Christmas plans when Amy’s hypercritical mom Ruth (Christine Baranski) blows in like a casually racist, well-to-do tornado. Dad Hank (Peter Gallagher) is a pretty mellow guy, but Ruth is hell-bent on making Amy roll out the perfect Christmas, which involves camels and a guest appearance by Kenny G.
Good-natured Kiki (Bell) has her patience tested by her mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines), who has no boundaries but some seriously creepy habits when it comes to getting closer to her daughter. (She wears pajamas with Kiki’s face all over them, so that’s weird.) And the firecracker of the trio, Carla (Hahn), actually shares a partying lifestyle with her out-there gambling mom Isis (Susan Sarandon), though Isis has hitchhiked into town mainly because she needs money.
The stars of ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ tackle every mom’s Christmas Eve chore: gift wrapping some awkwardly shaped presents.
The original comedy was about the main characters giving themselves the benefit of the doubt and embracing their “bad mom” moniker, and clearly the oldsters of the sequel need to learn this lesson, too. “Moms don’t enjoy. They give joy,” Ruth bluntly tells Amy, who with her BFFs aims to take back Christmas. Yet no one gives anybody a break as daughters bicker with their moms (and vice versa) during a downward spiral of cheesy misunderstandings and theatrical caroling, all leading to an ending about as predictable as your average rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
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Returning writers/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore spring for enough offensive fun to keep the audience giggling between the Christmas hokum. And they know these movies are best when focused on the core group: One of the best sequences features Amy, Kiki and Carla taking a mall by storm, getting blitzed, stealing a tree from Lady Foot Locker and twerking on St. Nick.
The movie meanders when they’re not all together. Hahn, however, singlehandedly keeps the second Bad Moms — as she also did for the first — entertaining with her crbad, over-the-top Carla. She has great chemistry with Sarandon and Justin Hartley (This Is Us), who plays a well-endowed male dancer Carla meets when he stops by her salon to get his privates waxed.
While not a bad Moms Christmas, it’s certainly a ho-hum holiday with only one real fruitcake to enjoy.
The weather’s getting chilly, and that means it’s the perfect time to see what’s playing on the silver screen. While these flicks aren’t holiday-themed, they’re certainly worth watching this season.
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