Review: A Bad Moms Christmas

If I were to create a metaphor for my relationship with this film over the past week or so, it would be that of a fly and one of those bright, electric zappers. I tried so hard to stay away from this movie, but the more I tried to avoid it, the more I wanted to see it. And that’s because the first film was such an awful turd, and it became a litmus test for me to see what kind of moms were…. “those” moms. I mean the kind of moms that would gawk on Facebook about “OMG we need to see this movie!”

See, the Bad Moms series are less stories than they are tortured mommy porn. Every single character in the series is one of three things:

  1. A caricature of the most disheveled of mother figures that moms can relate to,
  2. A hyperbolic caricature of something that causes stress in mom’s lives,
    or
  3. A sexy caricature of a man that fulfills the dreams of a disheveled mom, and nothing more.

 

Hence, since the characters in the film exclusively serve to be symbols of things mothers can relate to, the story in the first Bad Moms quickly cannibalized itself on hyperbole and absurdity.

A Bad Moms Christmas follows suit.

 

With that said, I actually laughed more in this film that I did its predecessor. There’s certainly more humor in this movie that works, but every single time the film made me laugh, it eventually went too far with the absurdity that I ended up rolling my eyes as quickly as I laughed.

What the film lacks is self-control. If they had just a smidgen of it, then this movie could have actually had some positives for any audience member that wasn’t a self-pitying mother.

 

 

badmoms1.jpgThe trio of ladies ended up being more of the same: Mila Kunis is once again really only a tortured mother that makes constant overstatements about just how hard Christmas is for mothers. Kristen Bell is the awkward middle child again. And Kathryn Hahn once again played the only one that was consistently entertaining despite the awful dialogue.

However, the film brings three more women to the table: the bad moms of the bad moms. Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon all end up playing the worst aspects of their daughters on steroids. Instant conflict. Just add water.

 

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Because of the conflict made by the moms of the moms being there, they actually were able to create some genuine conflict that was somewhat interesting to watch. It is extremely surface-level, but hey, the first Bad Moms couldn’t even accomplish surface-level conflict.

 

 

Every single other character in this movie is a prop. The sexy latin guy Kunis was dating was once again a metaphor for everything that a woman would want in a relationship with a man. Kunis’s children were the proppiest props in that they literally only serve to generate conflict for Kunis to get upset about and nothing more.

There’s also a male stripper that Kathryn Hahn starts dating… and because his character was designed to play off of Hahn, the most tolerable part of the franchise, I actually thought his inclusion was (usually) funny.

 

 

Oh, that one therapy lady came back! The one from the first movie. I shall now bequeath her with a new title: Bad Advice Bimbo, or BAB.

In the first film, BAB’s glorious advice to Kunis and her husband, after one session of therapy where they get mildly irritated with each other, was that they needed to divorce because they weren’t gonna work.

In this film, BAB has a therapy session with Kristen Bell and her mother (Hines). And she witnesses Hines play a game of emotional blackmail with Bell, and then runs away. Bell then asks Bad Advice Bimbo why her mom was such a psychopath. To which BAB gloriously says that Bell, by nature of being an awful kid, made her mother a psychopath… for some baffling reason.

I swear, I want to swallow glass just thinking about that scene.

 

There’s also a scene that solely exists as a 15-minute advertisement for Sky Zone, I shit you not.

 

So many of the scenes of the film are so disjointed and detached from the rest of the movie that I was extremely bored an hour into the film.

 

The soundtrack for this movie was abysmal and/or spoon-fed the audience as to what emotion they were supposed to feel about a particular scene.

 

Many of the characters changed motivations or personalities if the narrative thought they could squeeze a joke out of it.

 

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This movie actually has a few heartfelt scenes that somehow work. I say somehow, because in no way did the movie ever earn its heartfelt scenes, but there’s just something touching about a mother and daughter reconciling their past… even if the reconciliation was surface level.

 

This movie is more of the same. It was like a violent teeter-totter that constantly threw me back and forth between boredom, irritation, and entertainment.

With that said, the first Bad Moms movie was just irritation and boredom with no entertainment. A Bad Mom’s Christmas is the better movie of the two, but just because I’d choose sleeping on sandpaper over sleeping on a bed of needles doesn’t mean that I’d recommend either experience.

3 out of 10

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