I have never expected ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ to be a slight improvement over last year’s sleeper hit. (which made a lot more money than it should have.) As far as comedies set during Christmas go, this stand-alone sequel rises above ‘Bad Santa’ and its sequel, yet cannot reach the watch-ability of ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. I am aware that these movies were not made for me, as I am a 23-year-old male that had no experience of being a parent. Instead, they serve as escapist fantasies for mothers who need a break. As horribly written as ‘Bad Moms’ was, it still had the heart to speak to mothers who were tired of the stress put upon them. ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ has that same understanding its predecessor had, only relating to the holiday season when Christmas shopping is stressful and family comes over; add to the fact that it restrains its elements of debauchery and mommy mischief, and I am content; though it cannot help but to inject some cringe-worthy humor just because.
Being that ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ is an R-rated comedy, I expect it to be raunchy; but once offensive turns to uncomfortable, that is when the line gets crossed. Its major crime comes from the scenes and chemistry between Cheryl Hines and Kristen Bell, who are admittedly, perfectly cast as mother and daughter. Despite those moments, ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ is not as rowdy as the first ‘Bad Moms’, and makes room for a couple of giggles and expected emotion. For some people, that can be a discomforting change of pace, but not to me. In fact, from hearing the audience at a showing I went to last week, I heard what sounded to be a girl having a blast along with the rest of the audience. (My best friend even decided to see it twice for my benefit.)
When it comes to comedies, I usually go for the cast. The likes of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn (along with Christina Applegate, Annie Mumolo, and Jada Pinkett-Smith) were enough to bring me to ‘Bad Moms’. In ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’, Kunis, Bell, and Hahn reprise their respective roles of Amy, Kiki, and Carol. While Christine Baranski, Hines, and even Susan Sarandon round out the cast as the moms’ mothers, who arrive to visit for the holiday season, and who just might be more trouble than they are worth. Amy’s mother, Ruth (Baranski) is a perfectionist who constantly berates her parenting methods and wants to give the grand-kids (Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, and Ariana Greenblatt) an old-fashioned Christmas; Sandy (Hines) has huge attachment issues and has a hard time giving Kiki personal space; while Carla’s mother, Isis (Sarandon) is an alcoholic who only shows up in Carla’s life when she needs money to support her gambling addiction.
At first glance, these grandmothers are perfectly cast either by demeanor or resemblance. I especially always loved Sarandon, which makes her scenes with or without Hahn even more enjoyable. I can also guarantee these grandmothers could be enough to carry a movie on their own.