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Movie Review: “A Bad Moms Christmas”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

A Bad Moms Christmas

Theatrical Release: 11/1/2017

Theatrical Release: 11/1/2017

Synopsis

Christmas can be a stressful time of year for a mother like Amy (Mila Kunis). She has to deal with gifts, decorations, school plays, and so much more. She feels like the holiday season is a Super Bowl for moms, and it is hard to argue that view. As if the added pressure of Christmas was not enough to set Amy over the edge, she soon finds out that her mom Ruth (Christine Baranski) is visiting for the holidays. Not only is her mother visiting, but Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla’s (Kathryn Hahn) moms will be visiting as well.

Ruth is a controlling and strict mother who has her own very specific vision of how Christmas should be celebrated, and Amy’s way is never good enough for that vision. Kiki’s mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) is an overly attached mother who knows no boundaries, and if she had it her way, she would move in with Kiki just to be closer, even sleeping in the same bed if Kiki would allow it. Carla’s mother Isis (Susan Sarandon) is a free-loading, rebellious mother who is always drinking, always looking for a way to scam others, and who only shows up in Carla’s life when she needs money. Amy, Kiki, and Carla are nearly at their breaking points due to the pressures of Christmas, but adding their insane mothers to mix will surely be a recipe for disaster.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Kathryn Hahn (+6pts)

Desperate Comedy (-5pts)

Mika Kunis (+5pts)

Grandmoms Christmas (-4pts)

The Premise (+3pts)

Predictable (-5pts)

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Pro: Kathryn Hahn (+6pts)

I loved her in the first film and she was just as hilarious in the second. If you were not a fan of this raunchy and vulgar character in the first movie, then you will not be a fan of hers here. However, if you enjoyed this character in the first movie then you will enjoy this character in the second. Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell delivered effective comedy, but it was usually clean comedy, so when Kathryn Hahn delivered the profane and raunchy comedy, it felt different. For some, this will come across as desperate and out-of-place, but I found her character to be really funny.

Kathryn Hahn has such a talent for comedic roles like this. She nailed this raunchy character, but she did so while also delivering a strong, relatable performance. Sure, her character was crazy, hilarious, and over-the-top, but her character was more than that. Kathryn Hahn added some emotional depth to this character and I thought that she did a great job of balancing that depth with her character's wild side.

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Con: Desperate Comedy (-5pts)

I was a huge fan of the first movie, but a lot of the comedy in this one came across as desperate. What I mean by that is that it seemed like the filmmakers tried to force comedy in a lazy and generic way rather than write anything clever. The movie started with a scene that started like a straight rip-off of The Hangover, which was a flash forward scene showing Mila Kunis sitting at her house surrounded by the carnage and destruction of a holiday party that had clearly gone horribly wrong. Furniture was destroyed, the room was an absolute mess and there was even a generic random animal.

This scene disappointed me, because I knew exactly where this movie was going and I knew that the filmmakers would be giving us a cookie cutter raunchy comedy. Unfortunately, I was right. The comedy mostly did not work for me. It seemed like the filmmakers delivered material that they thought was "supposed to be" funny, rather than creating original and truly amusing material. I simply felt that this movie was made as if there was a comedy-movie equation where you could take something funny, switch up the variables, and the result would automatically be funny. Unfortunately, the comedy in this movie just did not work for me, aside from a few exceptions, and that was definitely disappointing, as I was hoping for a fun comedy here.

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Pro: Mika Kunis (+5pts)

Mila Kunis has been in some fun movies and she has been in some flops. This movie fell right in the middle, in my opinion, but I thought she did a decent job in the role nonetheless. She was funny, she had good chemistry with her supporting cast, she carried the movie's generic plot, and she even managed to add a lot of heart to the story. I did not really like this movie, but Mila Kunis was a big reason certain aspects of this movie worked. Her scenes with her mother had both effective comedy and effective drama. Especially toward the end of the story, there was some real dramatic material related to Christmas and the burden it puts on parents, and Mila Kunis and Christine Baranski handled this really well.

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Con: Grandmoms Christmas (-4pts)

One of this movie's biggest challenges was that it introduced three new major characters. This movie suffered from the same problem as Daddy’s Home 2, by taking the main characters and introducing each of their parents. The filmmakers of Daddy’s Home 2 struggled with just two additional characters, but the filmmakers of this movie decided to add three. The movie had an interesting premise that could have made way for some unique comedy, but the filmmakers ended up focusing way too much on these three new characters.

Did the filmmakers really need to introduce each of the main character’s mothers? Each of these characters were entertaining enough, but the movie ended up feeling very overcrowded, by having to spend screentime setting each of them up. The filmmakers wanted to do a lot of things that included the grandmothers, and they also wanted to do a lot of things that did not include them, but the filmmakers really did not have enough time for everything. It felt like they bit off a bit more than they could chew, and I thought the potential of this movie's premise was not achieved as a result of that.

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Pro: The Premise (+3pts)

I have already mentioned this, but I really enjoyed the first movie. It provided an interesting twist on a comedy by focusing on moms who were tired of their mundane and routine lives. The first movie was so much fun because it was unique, and it was filled with a lot of fresh comedy. My biggest fear of the sequel was that it would no longer feel fresh. The filmmakers answered this problem by setting this film during Christmas.

The sequel was able to take the same premise of the first movie, but raise the stakes by having it take place during the holiday season, and presenting it as the biggest time of year for moms. This opened the door for a ton of unique comedy that was centered around mothers and their responsibilities during the holiday season. You do not have to be a mother to relate to this premise. Christmas can be a stressful time of year for anyone, and it was not hard to imagine how poorly these moms would handle that stress.

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Con: Predictable (-5pts)

After the first scene of the movie, and after the grandmothers were introduced, I knew exactly where this story was going. The movie's opening scene showed the aftermath of the movie's climax. The filmmakers then jumped back and showed all the events that led up to the climax. For some movies, this type of storytelling works, for this movie it did not really make sense to do this, and it only made the entire plot predictable. The last movie was so much fun, because it was unpredictable and stayed mostly in uncharted territory. This movie told us exactly where it was going to go, so the audience will know what to expect, as well as when and where to expect it.

The filmmakers then introduced three new characters who each felt like a gimmick, and it was obvious that the filmmakers would focus too heavily on these new characters. Their relationships with their daughters felt very generic, which coupled with the opening scene, created a very predictable movie. Bad Moms was great, because it was mostly unpredictable. A Bad Moms Christmas lost sight of that, and ended up being the opposite.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C+ (75pts)

This movie had some fun moments and some intriguing qualities but the writing seemed to suffer due to an overcrowded cast. The filmmakers found a winning combination with the first movie, Bad Moms. It provided a unique perspective by focusing on a group of moms who were fed up with their day-to-day lives. With A Bad Moms Christmas, the filmmakers had the same premise, but looked at the holiday season through that lens.

There was a lot of potential for this to be another fun and unpredictable movie. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seemed to struggle with the addition of three new characters. The mothers of the three main characters got way too much focus and the movie ended up centering about the three mother-grandmother relationships, instead focusing on the movie's unique perspective of the holiday season. Kathryn Hahn was as entertaining as ever, and Mila Kunis did a fantastic job by towing the line between comedy and drama while giving the story some heart. It was definitely a fun cast with an interesting premise, but the crowded cast and focus issues resulted in a very generic, predictable movie.

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