I ran into this issue last year with “Almost Christmas:” early November is too soon to release Christmas movies.
“A Bad Moms Christmas” is the sequel to last July’s surprise hit “Bad Moms” and features Jon Lucas and Scott Moore returning to write and direct. The film follows Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn reprising their roles as young mothers, who this time must deal with their own moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) visiting during the holidays.
I enjoyed the first “Bad Moms” and Christmas movies are a guilty pleasure of mine so I was decently looking forward to this one, despite the trailers for this film looking about as good you’d expect for a film written and shot less than a year after the release of its original. But turns out this is everything it sold itself as, which is a film that despite offering up a few hard laughs feels rushed, loosely scripted and devoid of any true purpose for existing.
What made the first “Bad Moms” film so enjoyable was it looked at the stereotypical things mothers have to do every day and played off them; single moms getting turned on by a dad who can install a child’s carseat in 10 seconds is clever and amusing. This film tries to then continue that trend by saying “hey even moms get stressed out by their own moms” but it doesn’t end up with many laughs.
Most of the laughs are still a result of the “everyday mom” trope from the first film (“when we get stressed we hide in the bathroom!” says Kristen Bell) or from random running gags like Mila Kunis’ mom continuously not remembering having met her boyfriend.
There are a few dramatic moments sprinkled throughout (some genuine, some contrived), and there’s a relationship between child and mother that I’m sure every one can relate to (overly-demanding, obsessive or absent), so that adds a little bit of depth to the project.
Much of the film feels improvised, as made obvious by the numerous reaction shots of the actors laughing in response to a piece of dialogue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, other times it’s awkward. It hurts the flow of the film and some scenes go on for way too long, while others make certain character motivations feel hypercritical of actions from previous scenes or even the last film.
I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy bits and pieces of “A Bad Moms Christmas,” and there are far worse comedy sequels out there, but it is a bit of a disappointment given its premise and talented cast. If you want to get into the Yuletide Spirit a little early this year, or if R-rated female-led comedies are your thing, then you can do worse but as a normal comedy goes you can do a whole lot better.
Critics Rating: 4/10