To say that A Bad Moms Christmas is a great comedy would be an overstatement. It isn’t. It’s a series of vignettes that doesn’t amount to anything as strong as its predecessor. Nor is it the potent subversion of shmaltzy Christmas movies it thinks it is. Indeed, for a film wishing to upend Yuletide cinematic fare and satirise the societal expectations linked to the holidays, a film about “reclaiming Christmas”, it adheres far too closely to conservative norms to pack much of a punch. It’s a comedy about rich people’s problems, one which relies – to a lunatic degree – on seemingly parodic slow-mo montages and ends up saying what we all took for granted to begin with: children are demanding, parents can behave like sociopaths, and getting plastered at Christmas solves most problems. Amen.
That being said, and with many caveats in mind, this studio-mandated sequel is harmless enough. It’s a fun, foul-mouthed time-waster that sees the same cast do the same thing again, but this time with the welcome addition of the lead trio’s mothers, gleefully played by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon. Branski and Hines are undoubtedly the show-stealers, respectively as the domineering matriarch who needs to spend like King Midas for Christmas to be perfect, and the scarily dependent mother who hilariously lists illnesses (“Cancer! Diabetes! A lazy eye!”) to emotionally coerce her daughter into closeness. It’s a testimony to their work, alongside Kathryn Hahn’s always stellar efforts, that they can just about eclipse the film’s bum notes, including an ear-bleedingly poor soundtrack and All. Those. Montages.
A Bad Moms Christmas (Bad Moms 2) | Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (US, 2017), with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon. Starts Nov 9.
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