Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Mila Kunis – Amy
Kathryn Hahn – Carla
Kristen Bell – Kiki
Christine Baranski – Ruth
Cheryl Hines – Sandy
Susan Sarandon – Isis
Justin Hartley – Ty
Jay Hernandez – Jesse
A Bad Moms Christmas. My god, I was excited about the return of Hahn, Kunis and Bell who would deliver another serving of raucous entertainment. This entertainment being in the form of three disgruntled mothers who take current circumstances into their own hands and turn the imagery of ideal mothers on its head.
..I got none of this.
I think what makes this sequel worse is how brilliantly Bad Moms (2016) ended. Such a refreshing and hilarious story, shaped by its almost surreal situation comedy was polished during the closing credits with the actors themselves (Kunis, Applegate, Hahn, Pinkett Smith, Bell, Mumolo) being interviewed with their real-life mothers. This was an excellent touch (especially if you watch Bad Moms during the Mother’s Day period); the movie delivers the goods. Comes to its conclusion. Ends. And as the credits run, viewers get a lovely few minutes of mother-daughter interaction. A wonderful way to wrap up Bad Moms, ideal as one movie.
Nothing more needed.
…the characters return for a Christmas ‘episode’.
Clearly the producers thought a sequel whereby these moms don’t give a shit during the festive period would bring the house down. But in all honesty, I couldn’t have thought of anything more tiresome. Watching Kunis, Hahn and Bell amble around the set bored me. Their characters bleak situations playing out in synchronicity meant scenes jumping from one to another to highlight each woman’s experience, instead of focusing more on them together. I probably wouldn’t have minded had certain moments not proved insufferable to watch. Some were shocking:
Kiki and her mother attending a therapy session. As the pair sit talking to the counsellor in front of them, Kiki opens up about how overpowering Sandy is. In a desperate attempt to win back her daughter’s loyalty, Sandy quickly announces: “I have cancer!”.
Cue tears (naturally) from Kiki, before her mother gives in and admits she doesn’t have cancer – she only said it to gain sympathy.
That’s right. The woman lied to her daughter about having cancer. Horrible. Even I found this gag incredibly tasteless, and I can sit through hours of TV shows like Family Guy without raising an eyebrow.
One scene sees Carla and her mother Isis stood outside the local grocery store, collecting food donations for a local charity. This quickly turns weird when the women decide to rob people instead, and as shoppers leave the store they become involved in half-theft half-fight with strangers. It’s not funny at all, portraying more desperation than comedy and I noted hardly any reaction from the cinema audience at all. No laughter.
Another scene takes place in a trampoline & soft-play family entertainment venue. And it’s tedious. Consisting mainly of Ruth’s struggle to bond with Amy’s friends, this scenario ends up in a showdown between two characters as they play ball. It plays out in slo-mo as Ruth hits the floor of the inflatable thing they are competing on.. and that’s it. That’s literally it. An entire scene dedicated to one woman being beaten at a ball game and hitting the deck of an inflatable.
Shocking. It wasn’t even filmed or performed in an interesting way either, ot was simply – irrelevant.
Random observation: see if you can spot Carla’s son’s messed-up accent. I don’t know if the actor was doing it on purpose, but his performance as Jaxon was absolutely appalling. Added to this was his Australian-Irish-American mixed accent as he spoke his lines. The second his mouth opened, my one dropped slightly; I couldn’t fathom what sort of accent he was putting on. The kid seemed like he had never even visited a movie set before either as he gave a perfunctory performance as Carla’s only child. I would have believed it if someone told me one of the camera crew was shoved on stage at last minute when Hahn’s acting partner failed to show. He is just terrible.
Bell seems to have lowered the energy in this movie. In Bad Moms last year she was more strait-laced and corruptable. It was good fun watching her buckle at the influence of her two friends, turning grocery shopping mother into beer-swigging reckless mother. This time around, she is quiet and perky – it just doesn’t fit within the story.
The closing scene is awful. As the credits roll, the cast come together and perform (what I assume they think is) sexual dance moves and a disjointed routine to Charles Jones’s Be Your Santa Claus. I felt my face transform into a grimace at the sight of this car crash finale. As my arms unfolded, I leant forward. I grabbed my bag. And I got up and exited the auditorium immediately.
That’s right – I left the film before it had completely finished, it was that tedious.
There was something quite special I lapped up, however..
Say no more.
Although disappointment on a gargantuan scale from seat E11 (I.E. my position in the cinema), A Bad Moms Christmas did manage to scrape a few witty bits together. Hahn – as ever – is on top form as Carla, and delivers the laughs effortlessly. Her sultry looks blended with her wayward personality ensure she remains the most entertaining character throughout, she beats Kunis and Bell by miles performance-wise.
A Bad Moms Christmas left me reeling with that classic feeling of disappointment when you realise the sequel doesn’t compare to the first film – in any way. I think I did the “fuck sake” walk as I left the auditorium too; whereby I walk quickly down the carpet to the door with the booming sound of action still taking place on screen behind me. I burst through the door shaking my head, and lightly fantasize about approaching those about to go in to the next screening of the same movie and saying, “you realise you just wasted eleven and a bit pounds on a cinema ticket for no reason don’t you?”…
..but I don’t.
Instead, I walk past those poor sods and let them have it. After all, we do all have different opinions. But we also have better things we could have been doing instead of sitting through 102 minutes of complete shit.
A highly disappointing follow-up to 2016’s comedy hit, A Bad Moms Christmas is one gift you can leave wrapped up.