It seems like it is not unusual for mothers and daughters to have dysfunctional relationships. You probably know someone whose mother is too critical, or too close, or just doesn’t seem to care at all; if not, either lucky you or you may want to have an honest talk with your daughter(s). A Bad Mom’s Christmas takes all of these archetypes and plays them mostly for laughs and a little heart. It is full of clichés and vulgar language, but, with an all-star cast and a wildly funny storyline, this follow-up to last year’s Bad Moms is an enjoyable Christmas movie.
Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Ted) leads and partially narrates the film playing Amy, an overwhelmed, recently divorced mother trying to prepare a great Christmas for her family. Amy’s friends include Kiki (Kristen Bell; Veronica Mars, The Good Place), a similarly stressed, married, sweet, happy-go-lucky woman also trying to prepare a great Christmas for her family, and Carla (Kathryn Hahn; Crossing Jordan, I Love Dick), a tougher, sexually active yet lonely, alcoholic with one son who isn’t the brightest bulb, allowing her to coast through Christmas re-gifting his own stuff back to him. All three receive a shock when their mothers arrive to spend the holiday with them.
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Son of Zorn), and Susan Sarandon (who is so well known that my phone knew what last name I was going for after typing “Susan”) join the cast as the respective mothers of Amy, Kiki, and Carla. They each have their quarks which conflicts with their daughters in some hilarious and, at times, heartbreaking ways. The majority of the film is about the three pairs trying to survive until Christmas without destroying their respective relationships.
This is a sequel, but it stands well on its own. To be honest, I didn’t know it was a sequel until halfway through that last paragraph (can you tell which sentence I quickly rewrote in the first paragraph to make it seem like I knew that? Go ahead and look, I’ll wait. It actually sounds better now, so that was a fortunate discovery). There was probably some background in the first movie that would’ve given context to certain scenes, like the one with Christina Applegate, but I’m still proceeding with a mostly positive view of this film as a stand-alone movie.
There were some gags/plotlines that I could’ve done without. I love This Is Us, but I may never look at Kevin (Justin Hartley) the same way again after his portrayal of an exotic dancer who falls for Carla and has one of the cheesiest lines in the whole movie (which was probably just thrown in to cover a plot hole, maybe). However, many of those gags that I didn’t care for had other audience members rolling in the aisles; comedy is very subjective. There was also one or two scenes where a character seemed to change personalities to compliment a joke (Baranski and dodgeball comes to mind), but I digress.
If you are a mom, have a mom, or know a mom, you can probably relate to something in this film. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll go home feeling better about your family. There’s a few excellent guest stars and a little extra show during the credits. Enjoy; but leave the young ones at home… or send them to that other movie that opens the same weekend. Counter programming… good luck Bad Mom’s Christmas.