A Bad Moms Christmas Review

Review: A Bad Moms Christmas

Score: C-

Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Rated: R

“I’m trying to be more responsible and shit.”

After last year’s unexpected success, Amy, Kiki and Carla are back to work, creating the perfect Christmas for their families by rebelling against the expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas, in the holiday themed sequel A Bad Moms Christmas.  But this time around they are going to have to deal with a bit more baggage as their moms are stopping by for a fun, holiday surprise.

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn reprise their roles in what can only be described as a quickly thrown together sequel that bears little to the original.  Gone is the originality, the magic and even the humor, replaced by painfully forced one-liners, a Santa dance-off and a trio of cliché, overdone (grand)mothers.

The film starts out much like the original with Kunis’ Amy serving as narrator.  We first catch a glimpse of her sitting amongst the remains of a complete Christmas catastrophe as decorations lay in ruin everywhere and a camel struts through the living room.  But this isn’t the beginning of the story, we are quickly taken back a couple of days to where it all started.

The journey we go on this time around is straightforward and bland.  Overly dramatic situations are tackled with overly vulgar and irrational responses.  Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon join the cast as the women’s mothers, all bringing a unique and overly tense situation to the already hectic chore known as Christmas. Striving for perfection, companionship and rebellion respectively, the women help to propel the noteworthy cast; however, their overall affect on the story itself is mild at best.

But where A Bad Moms Christmas misses the mark most rests within the originality of the script, written by co-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (the duo who struggled to pen a worthy follow-up to their their 2009 hit The Hangover).  While there are a few moments of greatness (most notably during an early mall raid and later when scene stealer Wanda Sykes gives counseling advice to a distressed Kiki), the laughs are few and far between - and more so, the “punches” lack the universal appeal that helped make the original so relatable.

As the (grand)mothers continue their prodding, you can’t help but realize that the powerful, independent women that we fell in love with last year are nothing more than soft pushovers.  Instead of staking their claim on their own homes, they whittle at the sight of their mothers - a troublesome step back in comparison to their no-holds-bar exterior.  Granted the story itself wouldn’t exist without some sort of setback, but you have to question whether a sequel was really necessary.

Instead of creating humorous situations that many encounter, Lucas and Moore opt to stay with the bigger picture, focusing instead on the original Russian nutcracker, long nights of caroling and the desire to have the most festive house on the block.  Where the original film kept things in the “ridiculous but entirely possible” realm, here the need for reality is straight up nonexistent.  As a result the film falls into a pit of clichés and stereotypes, unable to resurface to give it the heart, wit and tact it so strongly deserves.

Due to its seasonal ties we will all see A Bad Moms Christmas.  While moms may connect to it on some level, most will struggle to get past the ridiculousness that lies within the overly tame story.  You might leave having enjoyed your time, but that will be more a reflection on your Christmas cheer, not the quality of film you just saw.

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About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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