Remember those big, pretty packages with your name on ’em under the tree? You’d stare them down for a good couple of weeks before the big morning arrived and then, brimming with anticipation, you’d tear that sucker open, only to reveal….I dunno, like, cheap luggage? A winter coat? Whatever lump of coal was subbing in for the cool gift you REALLY wanted?
‘A Bad Mom’s Christmas’ is a lot like that imposter present.
It certainly LOOKS the part of a winsome gift. The cast from the first film, a genuine surprise smash hit from 2016, are all back. The mood is blue (as in saucy, not sad), the gags are whipping about faster than Prancer on caffeine, and the proceeds appear to be paving the way for a laugh-out-loud diversion from whatever else you should be doing to get ready for December 25th. And while there ARE some funny moments in ‘A Bad Mom’s Christmas’, this sequel is simply too plot-by-the-numbers to truly enjoy. Trying to be more than the first film, it tries TOO hard and ultimately comes out as…….less.
The story picks up not long after the first installment. The titular ‘bad moms’….Mila Kunis, Kirsten Bell and Kathryn Hahn…remain friends and are still wrestling with the various struggles of motherhood, only this time, the chaos collides with the countdown to Christmas. Piling on the stress, all three moms receive visits from their OWN mothers. So – cue the stereotypical nightmare parents; there’s the controlling mom (Christine Baranski) who belittles everyone in sight, save for the grandkids….the clingy mom (Cheryl Hines) who doesn’t know the definition of boundaries…and the largely absentee, gambling, boozing mom (Susan Sarandon) who, as an added bonus, is also shamelessly needy.
Add male strippers, a drunken shopping spree, and a fancy Christmas party featuring everything from an escaped camel to a cussing Kenny G (don’t ask), and you have ‘A Bad Mom’s Christmas’. It’s not awful, it just isn’t near as good as it looked when it appeared on our collective wish list.