A Bad Moms Christmas seems like an impossibly fast cash grab that actually worked in some ways.
Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) are back. Some things have improved since we met them in the first movie, but things aren’t perfect. Each mom is dealing with the stress of trying to create a good holiday experience for their respective families. That gets a lot more complicated when each of them is descended upon by their own mothers. Amy’s mom, Ruth (Christine Baranski), is a perfectionist who comes in and tramples Amy’s desires for a simple Christmas with her spectacular plans for an opulent holiday. Carla’s mom, Isis (Susan Sarandon), is an even bigger trainwreck than her daughter. She blows back into town in a truck looking to scam some money off of her daughter before hitting the road again. Kiki’s mom, Sandy (Cheryl Hines), would probably sew herself and Kiki together if she could. She goes beyond smothering her daughter to a borderline creepy obsession with her.
In between getting into their usual drunken antics, the moms have to try to “take the holidays” back from their families. Some of the things involved with this (the antics and taking back the holidays) involves getting drunk in the mall, stealing a Lady Footlocker Christmas tree, making dick-shaped ginger bread cookies, having a dodgeball showdown at a trampoline zone and things like that. Eventually, though, they have to deal with their own issues.
Amy is concerned about her kids having their first Christmas without their dad. Things have been going well with Jessie (Jay Hernandez) and his daughter, but she’s still concerned about them enjoying the holidays. Amy thinks that the best way to do this is to have a quiet, simple Christmas. Ruth has her own way of doing things and she believes that Amy will come around to her way because, as she says, “my way is always better”.
Carla is concerned about keeping her mom around, but she’s also met a new man: Ty Swindel (Justin Hartley) a firefighter / exotic dancer with a huge penis who’s really into her. She meets Ty Swindel (because you have to always say his first and last name together) when he comes into her spa to get his balls waxed for a sexy Santa contest. She actually has a date with him that gets interrupted when her mom falls off a bar that Ty Swindel is dancing on top of. This was right after a bizarre moment that saw Ty Swindel sandwiched between the two women. Ty Swindel seems to still be in to Carla, but he has to leave town after that night, leaving their relationship looking like a non-starter.
Kiki’s just trying to deal with her mom, who she’s often given a pass because she’s alone. Kiki actually ends up taking her mom to therapy after she discovers her sitting in her bedroom watching Kiki and her husband having sex. After their meeting with the therapist (played by Wanda Sykes) becomes uncomfortable, Sandy flees the office. Later, she reveals that she paid cash for the house next door (I do not know where she is getting all this money from) Kiki has finally had enough of her clingy mom.
Most of these plot lines resolve themselves as the movie goes on and the mother’s and daughter’s confront each other.
Things come to a head when Amy and her mom have it out at a lavish party that Ruth throw’s against Amy’s wishes. Amy kicks her mother out of the house before her father, Hank (Peter Gallagher) tells her that her mother’s demanding nature comes out of a sense of insecurity that was instilled by her own demanding mother. Ruth, Isis and Sandy all convene at a Christmas Eve Mass service and talk about how they all messed up with their daughters. Amy eventually finds Ruth there and brings her back home to setup a nice Christmas for the family. That night, all three families come together to eat a Chinese food Christmas dinner. During the dinner, Ty Swindel appears and declares his love to Carla via exotic dance. The movie the ends with the entire cast (minus the children) mimicking the dance in front of a winter wonderland backdrop fit for a Sears family photo.
- In the first movie, there was a celebrity cameo by Martha Stewart. This edition brings in a man synonymous with the music of the holidays: Kenny G.
- The movie is fully aware that Carla’s mom is named Isis, and they know how it sounds.
- We also see a brief appearance of Amy’s frenemy Grwendolyn (Christina Applegate) during a forced caroling excursion.
- “How did you find me Ty Swindel” – Carla
“I looked” – Ty
- Part of the “drunken shennanigans” involves our three main ladies giving a mall Santa a sloppy lap dance. It is ridiculous and one of the best things in this movie.
What did I think?
With a movie like this, there’s really only one important question: is it fun? The answer to that question is “Yes”. This movie is fun. It’s not as good as the first movie, it doesn’t do a lot of original things, but it is still fun. It starts off a little clumsy with the jokes. Having a little girl recounting Amy and her Dad’s sex screams was a little too much for the opening joke, but the movie was trying to jump right back in where they left off. If I had rewatched the first movie before coming to this one, I’d probably have been a little bit more primed for that kind of joke when I sat down in the theater. Despite that, I felt like the movie found its groove around the time they had the three main ladies do another chaotic montage. That felt it was an obvious rehash of what they did in the first movie, but it was done so well that I didn’t care.
The other bright side of the movie was the casting of the mothers. Christine Baranski, who is no way believable as the biological mother of Mila Kunis, does a lot of the heavy lifting as the comedic foil in this movie, much like Chrstina Applegate in the previous movie. The other moms were great in their bits, it’s just that their bits weren’t quite as big. Susan Sarandon got the second most screen time and really hammed it up opposite Kathryn Hahn. I actually would’ve liked it if that story didn’t have so many sad beats to it. I liked the idea of watching those two try to out-trainwreck each other.
I don’t know that this is a movie that I’d say is worth watching again, but I’d definitely watch a third installment. When the mom’s slow motion walk out of the house to go to Vegas, I found myself thinking, “I wish I could see a Hangover-style montage of that”. That’s really the only verification that I needed to know that this movie did exactly what it was supposed to do: be a brief respite of entertainment.
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
- Doesn't waste time with formalities of beign a movie and just dives right into the same style of comedy from it's predecessor
- Some of the gags and set pieces are really funny and capture the same awkward comedy fo the original
- Not a lot of substance or charm behind the comedy
- Some of the earlier jokes seem kind of forced
- Doesn't stand alone. You need to have watched and liked the first movie.