A Bad Moms Christmas continues an unfortunate trend seen across movie theaters in 2017 with R-rated comedies missing the mark. A film starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn should not be so, well, bad.
It’s very telling when 2017 has given us so many awful R-rated studio comedies in Snatched, The House, Rough Night, and now A Bad Moms Christmas. The only positive sign for R-rated comedies in what has otherwise been a down year has been Girls Trip, a comedy that should have been 30 minutes shorter nonetheless. So what went wrong?
It’s not that any of the comedy feels forced in the Bad Moms sequel. It’s that it feels too predictable. Where this weekend’s sequel, Daddy’s Home 2, brings the fathers into the fold, this sequel brings the moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon) of the title characters into the picture. Even though the results are exactly what’s to be expected, adding their mothers makes for better material.
Amy Mitchell (Kunis) feels so much pressure from her mother Ruth (Baranski) to be not only a good mom but to put on the perfect Christmas. Kiki (Bell) has a psycho for a mother in Sandy (Hines) and badly wants to get some distance between the two. The free-spirit Carla Dunkler (Hahn) has a degenerate gambler for a mom in Isis (Sarandon). Adding their moms to the cast gives viewers an added perspective on the trio and shows just how nuts their mothers can make them — so much so that they get driven apart. It’s a great idea, but sometimes, it feels like it’s just a bit much.
The third act sets itself apart from the rest of the film and, no surprise here, it plays to our emotions. It takes the film from comedy to drama as Amy realizes she’s ruined Christmas and has to save it. It doesn’t even feel like a spoiler to say it because the film is so wildly predictable and that can’t even be stressed enough.
The best use of Christopher Lennertz’s musical score is making a game of dodgeball at a Sky Zone, where Amy (Kunis) and her mother, Ruth (Baranski), are pitted against each other, and make it feel like it’s right smack dab in the middle of a Western film. It’s just unfortunate that the scene, along with the large majority of the film, feels way too predictable.
Scott Moore and Jon Lucas wrote and directed the film along with its predecessor. They are the same two writers that penned the 2009 blockbuster hit that raised the bar on raunchy studio comedies, The Hangover.
Even though Bad Moms did for females in raunchy comedies what The Hangover did in general, A Bad Moms Christmas has a lot of potential and ends up falling short. If one is expecting to find laughs a plenty, expect to be disappointed. The best comedic gags turn out badly because it feels so forced. If you want a good holiday movie, turn to the ones where John Hughes played a role in creating because no film will ever meet the standards set by Hughes.
STX Films opened A Bad Moms Christmas in theaters on November 1, 2017.
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