A Bad Moms Christmas

 

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Only the self-obsessed and truly affluent could suffer a Christmas this bad.

 
Bad Moms Christmas

Women behaving badly: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn

  

Christmas is a time for giving, more giving and even more giving. First there are the Christmas cards to buy, then the Christmas stamps, the decorations, the Christmas tree, the Christmas presents (that nobody wants), the wrapping paper and all that extra food packed with empty calories. And then you have to admire the premature street lights, start all the arrangements, attend the awkward school concerts, invite the carollers in for mulled wine and keep Santa’s hand off your knee. For divorcee and single mom Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) things couldn’t get much worse when she discovers that her own bossy, controlling and ‘perfect’ mother is coming for Christmas. Coincidentally, her two best buddies, Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), are having their own moms over for Yuletide. Yep, A Bad Moms Christmas is that formulaic.

 

There are maybe enough comic moments to fill the trailer, but for the most part this seasonal sequel is just as crass, embarrassing and manipulative as the first film. And it’s so over-the-top as to beggar belief. Amy’s mom Ruth (Christine Baranski) is a monster in Armani whose idea of classy festive fare is a Christmas tree from Paris, ornamental vases salvaged from the Titanic and an ice sculpture frozen from lunar water. Kiki’s mother Sandy (Cheryl Hines) is so smitten with her own daughter that she wears bespoke pullovers emblazoned with Kiki’s face, buys the house next door and sits in on Kiki’s marital love-making. The biggest surprise is to see the Oscar-winning Susan Sarandon as Carla’s mom Isis (“like the terrorist organisation”), who is so stoned that she thinks it’s Easter. Here, subtlety is not an option.

 

And so the writer-directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas (who also inflicted Bad Moms on us), trot out the odd montage of bedlam to the accompaniment of a zingy rock or pop anthem, throw in the occasional slow motion sequence and get Kenny G to humiliate himself. In this pantomime of vulgarity, Cheryl Hines perhaps comes off best with some nice understated comic timing (“I have heart cancer, stage 12”), while Ms Sarandon certainly gets into the swing of things. Otherwise it’s a horror film of domestic destruction in which, once again, women are reduced to penis-worshipping , alcohol-chugging caricatures, with a sentimental coda to sugar-coat the stench of obscenity. Next up: A Bad Dads’ Christmas in the shape of Daddy’s Home 2, arriving here November 22.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher, Justin Hartley, Oona Laurence, Wanda Sykes, Kenny G, Emjay Anthony, Lyle Brocato, Christina Applegate, Cade Cooksey.

 

Dir Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, Pro Suzanne Todd, Bill Block and Mark Kamine, Ex Pro Mila Kunis, Screenplay Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, Ph Mitchell Amundsen, Pro Des Marcia Hinds, Ed James Thomas, Music Christopher Lennertz, Costumes Julia Caston.

 

Huayi Brothers Pictures-Entertainment Film Distributors.

104 mins. USA/China. 2017. Rel: 1 November 2017. Cert. 15.