A Bad Moms Christmas is one of those rare sequels which knows what made the first one good and hones in on that.
|Director(s)||Jon Lucas & Scott Moore|
|Writer(s)||Jon Lucas & Scott Moore|
As with Bad Moms, everything begins with the idea of our favorite moms, Amy, Kiki, and Carla, feelings like there is way too much of a burden on them as mothers. This time around, it isn’t just the burden of raising and participating in their kids’ lives, but Christmas. Then, to add onto their issues, a Christmas with their mothers.
Of which who bring on a slew of other issues to deal with. For Kiki, her mother Sandy is going through a lot. First and foremost, with Kiki’s father dead, she has no other family. She got pregnant at 18 and from there, it seemed she dedicated her life to her new family and her biological kin, at this point, seemingly are all gone. Be it dead or just not spoken to.
For Carla? Her mother Isis, like the terrorist organization (her joke, not mine), is a piece of work. Someone who you could absolutely imagine being Carla’s mom. After all, she is wild, unfiltered, but while Carla is a functioning uninhibited person, Isis is basically a mooch. She uses this desire Carla has to be close to her mom, the only family she really has, for money, 1000s of dollars, and then poof – she is gone. Leaving Carla feeling like a fool yet always ready for her mom to walk back in her life.
Lastly, there is Amy and her mother Ruth. Now, it should be noted, Ruth had a hard time in life. Like Sandy and Isis, it wasn’t all rainbows and candy. Her mom was hypercritical – beyond how Ruth sees herself with Amy. Yet, with a sarcastic, if not outright shady remark about everything, it makes Ruth coming to Amy’s home difficult. Especially since this is her first Christmas divorced with the kids and Ruth is hell-bent on perfection – the unfortunate gift Ruth’s mother left in the of trauma.
Leaving us with a movie which begins about mothers trying to find a way to make Christmas more of a chill holiday, but it evolving to hone in on what we saw before the end credits of the first Bad Moms. That is, the complicated, often exhausting, relationship between a mother and daughter. Especially as the daughter gains her own family, her own way of doing things, and finds herself less reliant on her mother more and more.
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- Gwendolyn pops in for one single scene. Her friends from Bad Moms don’t appear at all.
If you thought the combination of Kathryn Hahn, Mila Kunis, and Kristen Bell was funny? Oh, with Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon added to the mix, pretty much it would be a waste of money to buy food or a drink to watch with the movie. Why?
First and foremost, Christine Baranski does not present a single scene she doesn’t make you laugh. For whether she is having a low-key argument with Amy, saying some slightly racist things to Jessie, or just being extra with her husband Hank, it really pushes the idea that if this franchise goes for a A Bad Moms Vacation, she must be part of the cast.
The same goes for Susan Sarandon as Isis too! Though Baranski indefinitely steals the movie from right under the original cast’s nose, Sarandon makes sure she isn’t standing in no one’s shadow. Her and Carla stealing from a supermarket, doing a can drive scam, was funny. Though what Isis really brings is the comedy between the older ladies. For while Baranski’s area is going toe to toe with Kunis, Baranski and Sarandon going at each other, and occasionally having a handicap match with Cheryl Hines, that is where Sarandon shines.
As for the cast we already know? Naturally, Hahn is a beacon of light and laughter. Especially as she works with Justin Hartley, from This Is Us [External] who is a man she finds herself waxing and enjoying his dance moves. Alongside his traffic cone sized member.
One of the main things which kept Bad Moms from being rated “Positive” is it tried too hard with the comedy and avoiding really delving into the seriousness of what it was pursuing. That doesn’t happen here. There is a balance between Ruth and Amy going at it with Hank, and even Ruth herself, explaining why she acts the way she does. Thus crafting the idea that because, even at her age, Ruth is still dealing with the trauma her mother caused her. Which, because that is the only way she knows how to show love, by being demanding, expecting perfection, and insulting your daughter when it isn’t delivered, there is conflict.
And it is with going deeper into the issues between mother and daughter which brings authenticity to their issues. Like Carla. Whether you focus on what is going on between her and Ty or her and Isis, we go much deeper than before. When it comes to her mom, the fact she so easily, after being hurt many times before, lets Isis back into her life shows that woman behind all the jokes and vulgarity. The person who gets lonely and wants sometimes to be around someone who isn’t always expecting her to be the fun one or quick with a joke. Someone who not only will listen but know why she acts like this jester for it helps her deal with the other stuff in her life that is just too much to deal with. Especially since she is on her own for the most part.
Then, of course, there is Sandy and Kiki. While it isn’t clear what happened to Sandy’s family after she got married, what is clear now is that she is a widow with one child. Someone she raised since 18 so her youth was invested into this child and she felt like she grew up with her. So them not being some sitcom zany version of best friends hurts. Which often is portrayed as a joke, like Sandy pretending she has anything from cancer to strep throat for sympathy, but what I’m trying to get at with all this is you can see the pain behind the comical antics with this movie.
Something that was missing in the first film.
On The Fence
The Men Don’t Contribute Much To The Movie
Recognizing A Bad Moms Christmas isn’t really trying to be about the dads or boyfriends, it doesn’t make the fact Jessie is just there for racial jokes something to excuse. Much less, the character of Ty is nothing but eye candy and Hank’s sole importance is softening up Ruth. One could argue they are playing the role women always play but the main issue with that counter is Ty. For Jessie, he had his time in the sun with the first film and Hank? Well, he is new, the dad, and a very strong character’s husband. He never really had a chance. For Ty though, even if he was to be Carla’s love interest, you’d think there would have been more there.
If only in the form of either him helping to address her issues of being lonely, having to be the funny one or something. That is, besides him being a dude with a big cone-shaped member who needs to be hairless for work. The joke was funny, at first, but it became old and eventually, it seemed he got to be part of the cast so Carla could have someone too. As well as eye candy.
Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)
Honestly, if you came to watch this movie for men to be anything but the love interest, eye candy, or to help give the story a little push, you apparently don’t know what Bad Moms is about. This is a shout out to the mothers dealing with nonsense only other moms get. Be it a husband who does too little, parents, especially a mom, who expect too much, if not how lonely the holidays can be when all there is sometimes is just you and your kid.
And it is finding the laughter in the frustration, pain, and drama that makes A Bad Moms Christmas worth seeing. Hell, with the new life injected in by Susan Sarandon and Christine Baranski, I’m dead serious in expecting A Bad Moms Vacation out sometime in the next two years. It seems destined.