Bad Moms made so much money at the box office that not only was a sequel greenlit almost immediately but so, too, was a spinoff. The spinoff, Bad Dads, was supposed to be released first, but it got pushed back for A Bad Moms Christmas, a quick cash-grab of a movie that hopes to take advantage of the holiday season as well as any remaining goodwill that was leftover from the original. I wasn’t a big fan of the first film, and this second one is significantly worse.
Set during the week leading up to Christmas, the film follows the three “bad moms” from the first installment. Amy (Mila Kunis) is hardworking, has two kids, and is now dating Jessie (Jay Hernandez) after separating from her husband. Kiki (Kristen Bell) has a few kids of her own and a husband who works hard. And Carla (Kathryn Hahn) is a single mother of a dumb teenager. Carla never really seemed like a fit for the group—she’s not overburdened or overworked—but she’s here because that’s another demographic to pander to, and because she does raunchier bits—not that the rest of the movie is missing out on those.
So, it’s Christmastime and the mothers of the “bad moms” have shown up to cause trouble. Ruth (Christine Baranski) is Amy’s hard-to-please mother. Sandy (Cheryl Hines) doesn’t understand that her daughter, Kiki, wants boundaries. And Isis (Susan Sarandon) typically only shows up when she wants to “borrow” money from Carla. Only one of these “conflicts” even feels worthy of making it into the movie, and even it could be resolved with a conversation or two.
That’s one of the problems with both of these movies—nothing within them seems important enough for us to be watching it. The characters are all caricatures, sure, but if these were real people and they talked to their family about what they’re feeling, chances are they’d find solutions. But, no, that can’t happen. Instead, we have to follow these unlikable people and their even less likable mothers through a slapdash Christmas comedy. Woo-hoo.
Even those of you who liked the first movie will likely find yourselves wishing for this one to end far earlier than it does.
And, make no mistake: this is a rushed job. The cast and crew from the first movie returned for this one, which started filming in May of 2017. You can tell. Almost none of the jokes hit, the plot is even less interesting than the first time out, and almost nobody feels like a real person—and even fewer are endearing enough to get us to care about their non-problems. This is a movie that exists not to be a good experience for the audience but in hopes of fooling them into buying a ticket before running off into the sunset, hopefully never to be seen again.
But these are fantasy movies. Escapism for the working mothers of the world. The characters don’t exist to be reminiscent of real people—they’re expressions of pure id. Right? Great. That doesn’t make for a good movie. I can understand it in the first movie. At least it, in its over-the-top ways, showed us why these characters were upset with the world. A Bad Moms Christmas forgets to do that, instead choosing to use a voiceover monologue to try to get us onto the moms’ side. Sorry. Didn’t work.
The actors are indifferent to it all—here for a paycheck and nothing more. Any heart that you found in the original is gone. It should be fun to watch Christine Baranski chew out the rest of the characters—but it isn’t. Maybe it’s because it’s impossible to care about anyone involved. Maybe it’s because the script is bad. Maybe it’s because when you try to slap together a movie in a few months you wind up skimping on the quality.
A Bad Moms Christmas is another bad comedy. Even those of you who liked the first movie will likely find yourselves wishing for this one to end far earlier than it does. The jokes don’t work, the characters are insufferable, the plot is barely existent, and it fails to justify its existence to the audience. We know why it was made—a quick cash-grab—but there’s no reason these stories needed to be told. Don’t waste your money on A Bad Moms Christmas.
Conclusion: A Bad Moms Christmas is a terrible movie.
Recommendation: Save your $10 and put it toward a Christmas present for someone.