While sequels to movies like Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey take 25 years to get greenlit, 2016’s Bad Moms begins principal photography on its followup just 10 months after its release.
In a sequel more rushed than Porky’s 2, Bad Moms Christmas must’ve had some sort of high demand. I know I was very surprised with the first film, but in no way did I need a sequel a year later. Especially if I knew it was going to look like this.
The premise revolves around the three main characters from last time–played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn–having issues with their own mothers as they visit during Christmastime.
Of course, it wouldn’t be hilarious unless their moms had putrid flaws. And the writers know this as well, which is why we get cookie cutter maternal stereotypes: the over-bearing mother who never gives her daughter any space (Cheryl Hines), the mother who neglects her daughter and only comes around to ask for money (Susan Sarandon), and the high expectations mother whose daughter can never do anything right (Christine Baranski)–all three played way over the top in the most annoying and unrealistic way possible.
But that’s pretty much the whole movie. Everything the characters do or say to each other is unrealistic. The hijinks always ensues because of this. In fact, it NEEDS character responses to be impractical in order for it to exist. It merely serves to further the plot and allow the story to keep going.
Which it barely even does. Up until the last 10 minutes, nothing develops between the beginning and end of this movie. There’s just scenario after scenario of the mothers doing things to upset or annoy their daughters. It’s the final straw about eleven different times, yet there are no changes in the outcome or how the characters deal with it either way, because no one possesses any real self-awareness. The characters just keep getting angry, and so do we.
And it’s not just the lack of development that keeps it running at snail’s pace. The humor is juvenile and unfunny. So many scenes are halted by verbose dialogue that’s supposed to make us laugh. We don’t. When a film draws out comedic scenes for too long–which is a trend these days–it suspends any momentum that the narrative has built. But when it happens over and over again, there becomes almost no momentum to be suspended in the first place.
On paper, this movie should be good. But this proves that a film is so much more than its actors. A Bad Moms Christmas is a complete waste of its talents.
There are countless comedies that are forgettable, yet still give us one or two memorable moments. They won’t ever be considered classics, but they were never trying to be. You have to take them at face value. However, even at face value, this one is way below par.