Compared to the likes of Bad Santa, or Rough Night and Girls Trip, Bad Moms Christmas is toothless, predictable, and trite.
By Daniel Lima
If you’d like to see A Bad Moms Christmas, but are concerned because you haven’t seen the first one, lay your fears to rest: if you have seen any studio comedy between the years 2000 and 2005, you will settle right into the dated rhythm of this one.
As the trio from the first film prepare for the titular holiday – a stressful one for mothers, the movie is careful to remind you – each is saddled with the burden of their own bad mom. Hilarity ensues.
From regressive gender dynamics to hokey intertitles counting down to Christmas to a joke about Saddam Hussein, this feels like a movie whose script has been sitting in someone’s desk drawer for over a decade and never got tidied up before shooting.
At one point early in the film, Mila Kunis’ protagonist laments, “It’s 2017 and we’re still acting like moms need to do everything for Christmas!” I wondered why nobody involved in the production pointed out how right she was.
Exacerbating this is how tame the film is. Though it is R-rated, and has the requisite amount of f-bombs and sexual gags, most of A Bad Moms Christmas seems fit for network television.
Despite a title promising a certain amount of raunch, the movie is just like any other Christmas movie: good people get on each other’s nerves, but in the end they still love each other. Compared to the likes of Bad Santa, or Rough Night and Girls Trip, Bad Moms Christmas is toothless, predictable, and trite.
Salvaging the picture from total ruin is a bevy of talented comedic performers, each imbuing their hackneyed lines with such verve that it’s hard not to care for their characters a bit. Though the core trio are certainly up to task, it is their mothers who steal the show, Cheryl Hines’ bubbly and creepily affectionate loon in particular (it’s a performance I might call Oscar-worthy).
As the film drops the inevitable sequel hook, I can’t help but feel somewhat optimistic… provided that film delivers the quality material these women deserve.