Ho! Ho! Ho! Break out the egg nog, coloured lights, and holiday decorations. The Christmas season has arrived, or at least that’s what Hollywood wants us to believe. Indeed, fans of last year’s hit Bad Moms are in for a treat as the holiday themed sequel A Bad Moms Christmas has now made its debut in theatres. Along with original cast members Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, and Jay Hernandez the sequel features Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, Christine Baransky, and Cheryl Hines. Other additions include Justin Hartley from TV’s This Is Us, Peter Gallagher, as well as a cameo by Wanda Sykes.
Written and directed by the same filmmaking duo that brought us the original, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, A Bad Moms Christmas gives moviegoers more of same crude, raunchy humour that worked for the first film, but this time the comedic chaos is set against the backdrop of the Christmas season. A Bad Moms Christmas is chock-full jokes about pubic hair waxing, penis shaped gingerbread cookies, and putting the “ass back into Christmas”.
What makes this latest film different from the original is the addition of the grandmothers who bring added stress and drama into the lives of the three central protagonists. Each mother provides insight into the backgrounds of the main characters and sheds light on why each “bad mom” turned out the way they did. Cheryl Hines (ex of Curb Your Enthusiasm) portrays Kristen Bell’s mother, Sandy, a clingy widow who yearns to be her daughter’s best friend and has an affinity for styling her hair just like her daughter, dressing up in clothing adorned with pics of her daughter as a youngster, and at one point even lying about having heart cancer. Sarandon is cast as Isis, Hahn’s wild and unconventional mother who only comes to town when she needs to borrow money from her daughter and who revels in living the rock and roll lifestyle.
The central storyline of A Bad Moms Christmas revolves around Kunis’ character Alice and her overbearing and uptight mother Ruth, played by Christine Baransky, who provides many of the film’s best moments which shouldn’t come as a surprise since the actress is consistently good in whatever role she takes on. Ruth (along with her husband Hank) arrive at the home of their newly divorced daughter, dead set on having a picture perfect Christmas for her two grandchildren. According to Ruth, the required festivities for a proper celebration include attending a five hour Russian production of the Nutcracker, participating (in costume) in a marathon carolling session, and erecting an over-the-top twelve days of Christmas display (complete with live partridges) on her daughter’s front lawn.
A Bad Moms Christmas is full of conventional gags, raunchy humour, and plenty of slow motion montages of the women’s drunken shenanigans. Overall it’s an improvement from its predecessor with a few more laughs and a little more heart. But if you’re looking for a holiday comedy with intelligence and originality, the best advice would be to keep on looking.
A Bad Moms Christmas is now playing in theatres.