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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 5, 2017

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review: A Story Of Three Harrassed, Overburdened Moms Coping With The Pressures Of The Holiday Season

‘BAD MOMS’ was a surprise hit when shown last year so it’s not surprising that it now has a sequel that is even shown in time for the Christmas season at that, “A Bad Moms Christmas”. The bad moms here are Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.

In the history of dumb comedies with “bad” in their title, like “Bad Teacher”, “Bad Santa”, “Bad Boys” and “Bad Grandpa”, “Bad Moms” is the one that works pretty well, balancing its nuggets of wisdom and truth about motherhood with funny raunchy humor, which, admittedly, is a tricky combination to pull off.

In the first movie, we were first introduced to Mila as Amy, who got pregnant at 20, married her high school BF and now lives in suburban Chicago with their two kids. She’s the one who does all the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and even drives the kids to school. She feels so harrassed and one day, she snaps and decides to no longer be the perfect parent and be a bad mom.

She finds unlikely allies in two other moms, Kristen as Kiki, a mother of four with a domineering husband, and Kathryn as Carla, a single mother who has a foul mouth and can be quite promiscuous. They play flawed characters who do wacky things for a laugh but eventually, they also learn valuable lessons about life and family.

It’s really nice to see these actresses bringing their individual personalities to the screen in a film about a friendship between harrassed overburdened mothers. Now, in “A Bad Moms Christmas”, they are planning for their family’s holidays and this time, we get to meet their respective moms (just like in “Daddy’s Home” where Mel Gibson and John Lithgow are introduced as the dads of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell).

Mila’s mom is Christine Baranski as Ruth, who is always well groomed but distant and domineering. She’s very controlling to Mila but spoils her grandkids with extravagant gifts. She gives a party in Mila’s house inviting more than a hundred people then even insists that Mila take part in a carolling competition.

Kathryn’s mom is Susan Sarandon as Isis, a carefree, irresponsible mom named like the terrorist organization. She only visits her daughter to ask for money for gambling. Kristen’s mom is Cheryl Hines as Sandy, who is overpossessive in trying hard to be her daughter’s best friend. She does this in the most uncomfortable ways, as she even wants them to wear the same dresses. Will they the bad moms survive being together during the holidays?

Mila Kunis is as engaging here as in her performance in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, where she co-starred with Kristen Bell, who is the mom with a really good heart. But it’s Kathryn Hahn who steals every scene she is in with her effortless ways of eliciting laughs, especially in that interlude she has with a male stripper, Ty (Justin Hartley), who goes to her salon to have his balls waxed. Together, the chemistry of the three actresses is just quite perfect.

The casting of Baranski, Sarandon and Hines as their imperfect moms are excellent choices, with Sarandon letting her hair loose to have some fun playing a mom who doesn’t really know how to be a mother. Hines gives a winning portrayal of a clingy mother who’s trying her best to make a very personal connection with her daughter, but has some very real boundary issues.

Baranski, who we adore as hotshot lawyer Diane Lockhart in “The Good Wife”, is perfect as Mila’s perfectionist mom with a henpecked husband, and there’s a nasty downside to her awful character here which will be revealed later.

Kudos to writers-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (who wrote “The Hangover”) for doing a great job in gathering these very talented actresses together for a fun comedy that have enough laughs from start to end, even if we feel so uncomfortable when we hear a little girl saying a lot of cuss words for laughs. There’s a line dropped here that the mother of Baranski is still alive, so, if they would have a Part 3, don’t be surprised if the grandma shows up played by Betty White of “Golden Girls”.