When the film Bad Moms came out last year, it managed to become a massive summer hit towards the ends of the summer season. It made $183.9 million worldwide and became the highest-grossing film for newbie distributor STX Entertainment. But because the film did incredibly well, that meant it would get a sequel. As it turns out, A Bad Moms Christmas is a slight retread of the original but it is still a slight improvement in terms of laughs.
A Bad Moms Christmas continues the story of Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) who are now dealing with the pressures of trying to make the perfect Christmas for their families. To make matters worse, they must deal with their own mothers who arrive for the holidays and bring their own special antics.
Amy confronts her mom Ruth (Christine Baranski), who tries to upstage her more simplistic Christmas plans by planning an extravagant party and even buying her grandchildren’s affections. Kiki tries to get her overly attached mother Sandy (Cheryl Hines) to give her some space. Meanwhile, Carla attempts to form a bond with her mother Iris (Susan Sarandon), who has never really gotten her life together and only shows up when she needs money from her.
Other than the three main characters dealing with their family this time around, the plot is still more of the same because of how they’re fed up with trying to the perfect mom and try to get raunchy. There is even a scene at a shopping mall where the three women start getting drunk which is done in slow motion that is similar to the supermarket scene in the first one. When the shopping-mall sequence is shown in the trailer, it gives off the impression that the film is going to be a nonstop-raunch fest.
Even though it does aim for situational raunchiness, most of the film’s laughs stem from the cast members who are very game. The original trio of Kunis, Bell, and Hahn still deliver. Although amongst those three, Kathryn Hahn, who was the comedic breakout in the previous film, once again emerges the scene stealer as the unapologetically crass Carla and proves how she makes everything she is in better. Even her guest spot on the series Parks and Recreation as the narcissistic yet sardonic political strategist Jennifer Barkley is aces. If there was any justice in this world, she would become a comedic star in the same vein as Melissa McCarthy. She’s always been a scene-stealing supporting player but imagine her doing wonders with a film that she can carry on her own.
The three new additions to the cast: Baranski, Hines, and Sarandon bring some laughs as well. Although amongst them, Christine Baranski manages to be a standout. She can take the most dry line (“Mothers don’t feel joy on Christmas, they give joy, that’s just how life works.”) and make it gut-punching hilarious with her airy delivery. Not only that, but out of all three actresses, Baranski gets the most fleshed-out character. There are sparse moments where Ruth shares her backstory to demonstrate why she is the way she is and why she is always expecting perfection out of her daughter.
While they do a great job with what they’re given, Hines and Sarandon have characters that are more underdeveloped and are sadly playing tropes rather than actual characters. Hines playing the clingy mom with little character development was rather clichéd and the “dirty grandma” role that Sarandon plays is like a variation of her character from Tammy. Thankfully, A Bad Moms Christmas is a far better movie.
Other than that, there isn’t much else to say about A Bad Moms Christmas. It’s far from a well-wrapped present but it’s not exactly coal in someone’s stocking. It is a slight rehash of its predecessor in terms of plot but it is still made watchable thanks to the very game ensemble cast. If they were to do another sequel or even a Bad Grandmas spinoff, if the cast is willing to return, I’d still gladly watch.