Magazine article Screen International

'A Bad Moms Christmas': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'A Bad Moms Christmas': Review

Article excerpt

The trio of put-upon mothers return to put the fun back into the festive season

A Bad Moms Christmas

Dirs/scrs: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore. US. 2017. 104mins

Like some holiday parties where the company is more fun than the setting, A Bad Moms Christmas fills the screen with enormously appealing actresses doing all they can to wring jokes from predictably raucous scenarios. This sequel to last year’s surprise smash Bad Moms again examines the challenges of motherhood - this time, by pairing the original film’s matriarchs with their long-absent moms, generating laughs from the anxieties that one generation of women inflicts on the next. The new film is hardly a comedic lump of coal, but the broad, sitcom-y material has inherent limitations that no amount of shameless, gleeful silliness can overcome.

Opening in the UK and US on November 1, this STXfilms offering hopes to get a jump on the Christmas moviegoing season, reuniting original stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn while adding Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon. The question remains whether the 2016 original, which grossed $184 million worldwide, was a commercial fluke, or if audiences are ready for a second helping of R-rated chuckles so soon.

Chicago working moms and best friends Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Hahn) are exhaustedly preparing for the onslaught of holiday season when their mothers arrive, unannounced, to join in the festivities. Each of these older moms exhibits their daughter’s personality even more intensely; respectively, Ruth (Baranski) is a type-A perfectionist; Sandy (Hines) is sweetly naïve; and Isis (Sarandon) is a drifter who’s never really grown up.

Writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who were behind the first film and wrote The Hangover, relish putting these characters in “outrageous” situations - like, for instance, when Amy, Kiki and Carla try to throw off the pressures they face as moms during the holidays by writhing all over a mall Santa. Too much of the humour of A Bad Moms Christmas is pitched at this level, aiming for cheap, oh-so-shocking laughs that hardly feel subversive. (The one inspired exception is a risqué, and sarcastically tender, meet-cute between the brash Carla and a hunky stripper who comes to get his privates waxed at her salon. …

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