This film is the sequel to 'Bad Moms' (2016) which focused on the challenging, demanding and amazing role that is motherhood. In the first film we meet characters Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) that are all facing challenges with their families and daily routines. Bad Moms showed us that it is actually OK not to be a stereotypical 'perfect' parent as there is no such thing. We see the three ladies learning to lighten their load as mothers and form an unlikely friendship. With of course a couple of hiccups along the way.
In the beginning of the sequel we see lead character Amy (Kunis) sitting on her staircase at home on Christmas eve looking rather depressed explaining to the audience that she is the worst mom and she has ruined Christmas. We then see a flash back which takes place around 5 days before Christmas Eve. This shows Amy and returning character Carla (Hahn) and Kiki (Bell) all now appearing to lead settled and happy family lives. This is until the most stressful time of the year comes around. Yep, Christmas! As the characters in the film tell us, there is so much to do in such a short space of time. Buy "presents for everyone in your life including a candle for the coffee guy", "decorate", "bake cookies", attend children's school performances and so on. This very much links up to the same theme as the first film. Being a stressed out mother. This film then ramps up the pressure for the frontal characters by adding the arrival of their parents coming to stay with them for the holiday period. The sequel veers off into two different directions leaving the audience with not only two stories to follow but also many different character perspectives too. So now we are witnessing the lives of three unappreciated, stressed out mothers dealing with the Christmas rush, but we are also seeing the three characters deal with their own mother-daughter conflicts at the same time.
In A Bad Moms Christmas we are introduced to new characters, the Bad Moms mothers - Amy's mother, Ruth (Christine Baranski) the controlling perfectionist, Sandy (Cheryl Hines), the mother of Kiki with rather unusual behaviour caused by her daughter attachment issues which includes watching her daughter and son-in-law "go at it like monkeys" and Isis (Susan Sarandon) "like the terrorist group" who is Carla's leather clad and drug fuelled parent who only has time for her daughter when she is low on funds. As well as the return of Jay Hernandez as boyfriend of newly divorced Amy, we also meet new background characters including Amy's father Hank (Peter Gallagher) - a man that is a bit of a pushover and is very much under the thumb of wife Ruth who describes him as a man that "has a brain the size of a walnut" and Justin Hartley who portrays the rather appealing hunk Ty Swindel, a fireman turned exotic dancer after a strip club owner had discovered his "Large cock".
Like the prequel, A Bad Moms Christmas is a film full of montages featuring characters Amy, Carla and Kiki in a number of scenarios portraying their rather childish, irresponsible and drunken 'bad mom' behaviour. These scenes are very entertaining and full comedy gold. One of which shows the three ladies running riot around a shopping mall creating havoc after getting drunk in the food court. Together we see them steal a silver christmas tree from a well known footwear store, testing out massage goods and giving a very unsuspecting Santa Claus a group lap dance.
As expected, the film is full of sexual references and filthy humour. It even featured Jesse's (Hernandez) young daughter often saying "Oh my fucking God!" after hearing this phrase being repeated while characters Amy and Jesse had previously shared an intimate evening. Another memorable scene which really amused me was when spa therapist Carla is visited at work by a male client that is attending his booking for a wax session. In walks Ty Swindel (Hartley) in nothing but a skimpy towel around his waist. Not really leaving too much to the imagination. After the towel is removed and reveals to Hahn's character the rather "large parking cone" hiding underneath, he and Carla immediately hit it off especially after discovering they are both from Cleveland. During the scene we see the two share general chit chat about their lives while Carla is casually waxing the balls and butt crack of this handsome human being. We see her ripping wax strips from his body warning him of the incoming "slight sting on your nut sack" while he continues to smile at her without a single flinch. He then raises his legs up over his head and says to her "I can pull my butt crack open for you if you want". Most of the humour does centre around the loud and rampant Carla, although in my opinion there was another that completely stole the show. Amy's mother Ruth.
As mentioned earlier in this review we meet the mothers of the original trio. A Character that really stood out to me was Ruth. Amy's uptight and domineering mother is brought to life by actress Christine Baranski. The relationship between Amy and Ruth is a strained one. No matter her efforts Kunis' character can not do anything right to please her mother. Ruth is always putting her daughter down with catty comments such as "stop dicking around" and "Amy you are a mom, moms don't enjoy they give joy, that's how being a mom works. So this hideous tree does not give joy to anybody" after setting eyes on Amy's stolen Christmas tree from lady foot locker. Also "if you think for one second that I'm gonna let your lazy shenanigans ruin Christmas for this entire family, then you are very much mistaken" after Amy has decided to have a relaxed Christmas with her family. Baranski's character is also seen on multiple occasions showering her grandchildren with expensive and unnecessary gifts before the big day. Amy and Ruth are constantly squabbling and we even see a wild west style dodge ball showdown between the pair which is a hilarious scene. We later learn in the film that the character Ruth is the way she is because her mother was also rather hard on her as a child and still even to the present day, leading her to believe that she is "worthless" and very insecure about herself as a mother. Due to the discovery of this Amy is encouraged by her father Hank (Gallagher) to fix her relationship with her 'mom'. To me Ruth came across very much like the role of Beverly Hofstadter, which Baranski plays on very popular comedy series The Big Bang Theory. A woman with a hard exterior and a lack of affection for her children or their achievements but also a comedy genius.
Cheryl Hines also brings a lot of inappropriate comedy to the big screen. She portrays Kiki's mother Sandy. The character is very lonely and needy after the loss of her husband some years ago and heavily relies on her daughter Kiki as a friend, daughter and idol. Sandy will often wear clothing with her daughter's face on and tries hard to look exactly like her daughter too. her behaviour towards Kiki is so inappropriate to the extent where she is often seen smelling Kiki's hair whenever they are close to one another. Kiki decides that she has had enough but doesn't want to upset her mother so she takes her mother to a therapy session in an attempt to get her to ease off and allow her some space. During the session Kiki eventually breaks the news to her mother that she needs her to back off as she needs her own personal space with her family to which we then see Sandy announce "I have cancer!, cancer of the heart" in front of the therapist who of course can see right through this sudden confession. To be honest this isn't something I found funny. Emotional manipulation isn't something that should be made into comedy. Sandy rolls off an ever changing list of fake ailments from heart cancer to gallstones and strep throat to try to get her daughter to feel guilty about wanting to spend time away from her. It felt like the writers had invaded the Cards Against Humanity packs for the inspiration behind these scenes. Funny to some but in poor taste to others.
Unfortunately there isn't too much that I can say about Susan Sarandon in this movie. She plays the role of Isis well, although there isn't as much of her as there is of Hines and Baranski. When we do see Isis she is often drunk or high while sporting a cowboy hat and a leather jacket. As a mother Isis has neglected her daughter and grandson over the years. She doesn't even know her grandson's name which is Jaxon. Carla and Isis are two peas in a pod. They are two generations of the exact same person. The only difference is that Carla is now trying to become a more responsible parent by working in a spa. Isis is a free spirit and often gambles and steals rather than earning her own income. We even see mother and daughter literally as partners in crime as they wait together outside a supermarket entrance with a trolley claiming to collect food for the homeless and end up stopping shoppers and clearly stealing items from their bags of shopping. Isis was cast well and Sarandon looked great in her rock chick role but I think there is more that the writers could have done with the character.
At the end of the film we see Sandy, Ruth and Isis also form an unlikely friendship just like their daughters in Bad Moms. We see the three leave with bags packed and heading out the door in style to catch a plane to Las Vegas. This has clearly indicated that there could be a high chance of a Bad Grandmas film. We could even get to meet the strict mother of Ruth too. I would love for this to happen! I really enjoyed Bad Moms and I liked A Bad Moms Christmas even more.
This may not become a classic Christmas film, but it certainly is a great comedy. If you are like Amy, Carla and Kiki are feeling the strain of parenthood, I suggest you join your mothers, sisters and girl friends and take a night off to see this film. A Bad Moms Christmas is just what's needed for a fun filled ladies night out. And if you dare to, take your partners along too. My partner isn't keen on comedies yet I saw him laughing a lot while watching this. This film is a definite must see.
This review is currently on my own review website https://kasimmons8.wixsite.com/therealviewroom