When ‘Bad Moms’ Greet Christmas with Crude Humor
The holidays can surely be stressful: figuring out what gifts to buy, setting up the Christmas tree on time, and rushing to grab the best holiday deals in stores. But for the three mothers in “A Bad Moms Christmas,” they have the extra layer of stress that comes in the form of their own mothers visiting them suddenly, with mixed results.
First released on Nov. 1, the Christmas-centric is obviously still appropriate to watch in December, and actresses Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn return from the 2016’s “Bad Moms.” Their characters struggle with the annual pressures of Christmas as well as not knowing how to react when their mothers intervene with their holiday traditions.
Kunis’ Amy Mitchell, now officially together with hunky beau Jessie (Jay Hernandez), decided to kick back with her best friends, Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) at their local mall—drinking excessive alcohol in the cafeteria, literally dry humping a creepily-willing mall Santa and stealing a Christmas tree from a store. They had moaned about they want to feel excited about the holidays again and wanting to “put the ass back in Christmass,” as Carla declared.
The film is a prime example of using the same formula other similar films have used: a bunch of unhappy friends gather, reevaluate their current lives, decide to either get away on a trip or just let loose, and some overblown drama is scattered throughout. While this formula works better for certain films, it is common in PG-13 and rated-R films like the acclaimed “Girls Trip” (2017) and “How to Be Single” (2016). For this film, it unfortunately starts to feel repetitive although directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas clearly tried hard to make it feel authentic and funny.
Speaking of funny, this film was rampant with rated-R humor which made for a great distraction and catharsis about how the holidays genuinely could be a stressful time.
In particular, Carla, the most sexually-charged and impulse-driven of the trio, met Ty Swindle (Justin Hartley), a beefcake customer at her spa in need of a complete waxing.
Their attraction was immediate, as Carla’s grateful she didn’t have to wax an old lady for once and numerous sight gags were presented—a naked Ty lifting his legs for her to give him a Brazilian wax, him smirking (instead of typically wincing in pain) when Carla literally waxed him, and Carla simply just ogling his musculature. The raunchy comedy continued as he revealed he’s a stripper and he’s in a Sexy Santa competition at a local bar downtown, which he invited Carla to attend.
The arrivals of the rich, condescending Ruth (Christine Baranski), the clingy and desperate Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and the rebellious Isis (Susan Sarandon)—Amy’s, Kiki’s and Carla’s respective mothers—brings up the potential for a spin-off about so-called “Bad Grandmas.” Their individual personalities bounce off one another and yielded many jokes as they clearly did not get along initially, each also treating their daughters differently.
Baranski’s performance as Ruth spoke to how she can be typecast into these types of roles where she’s played uptight mothers who disapprove of others’ actions, which she’s done in the TV series “Ugly Betty,” for instance. However, she’s more likeable here and her conflict with daughter Amy was a respectable attempt at giving the film an underlying emotional layer.
On the surface, the film’s main conflict is how the daughters deal with their uninvited mothers for the holidays. But the deeper issue is how each daughter can stand up to them and assert that they can make their own decisions and be independent.
“A Bad Moms Christmas” was not the most original film, nor was it as memorable as its predecessor, but it did the job to deliver nasty jokes and comical sight gags. Its purpose to entertain with rebellious American suburban moms was satisfactory but the overall end result was not quite as refined.
The visiting grandmothers slightly helped to spice it up and their exit was applause-worthy—revealing they’ve become their own trio and are visiting Las Vegas on a whim, with Kesha’s feminist-esque anthem, “Woman” blasting, as they leave in slow motion. As mentioned before, this could be the perfect setup for a “Bad Grandmas” spin-off.