Best mates and fellow moms Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) are back. In spite of having decided to be more relaxed in their parenting, they find themselves settling back into old habits now that it’s the holidays. Over-burdened with shopping for presents, cooking, gift wrapping and decorating, life becomes all the more stressful when the women’s respective mothers (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) decide to visit. Time to bring out the festive cheer and some ho-ho-hoeing.
You might recall my thoughts on last year’s Bad Moms, a film that was woefully unfunny with characters lacking anything that could be described as pleasant or vaguely likeable. Upon hearing that it was getting a sequel, and a Christmas-themed one no less, the first trailer for which saw its lead characters lap dance around Santa, this reviewer was distraught. However, the introduction of the fabulous Susan Sarandon and Christine Baranski to the cast gave one hope. So I tried. Unfortunately, there’s only so much that a talented cast can do with a script that’s just plain bad and a set-up that's completely uninspired.
Awkward sex and puberty conversations are relied upon for cheap laughs and, once again, the characters are really unappealing (ok, I get the whole ‘unblinking look at what women are really like’ but we are not the absolute worst!). No effort whatsoever has been attempted with the sequel, which has basically the exact same story as its predecessor, but set at Christmas. Also, why are they relying so hard on the simplistic formula that vulgarity equates hilarity? Sure, it worked for Bridesmaids, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of crude humour, but the exploitation of vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake is nothing short of pathetic.
The aforementioned addition of Sarandon and Baranski as well as Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines doesn’t help the movie by much – just because they’re more psychopathic than their daughters, doesn’t make them any funnier. Mind you, one can’t totally demonise the trio as the mood does lift ever so slightly on the rare occasion that they share a scene. There are also a couple of scenes such as one set at a leisure zone and another involving a waxing session that provoke the odd chuckle. Sadly though, most of the sequences are set around mother-daughter antagonisms for which the chemistry is absent and the script humourless.
Bearing in mind that Bad Moms was released last August (generating $184m at the box office from its $20m budget) with a sequel announced last December and the first trailer for said sequel unveiled last June, it’s very obvious that A Bad Moms Christmas was a quick, cheap and lazy effort to generate box office revenue. If it wasn’t entirely dull and pointless, fair enough, but as it stands, it doesn’t deserve your cinema ticket purchase.