A Bad Moms Christmas
Universal // R // $34.98 // February 6, 2018
Review by William Harrison | posted February 10, 2018
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version

THE FILM:

A Bad Moms Christmas is not a movie; it is a string of pop music-backed girl-power montages posing as a feature film. The first one was not exactly comedy gold, but stayed afloat thanks to its cast, which included Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn and Christina Applegate. I know I did not ask for a sequel, but one arrived in theaters sixteen months later, with the principal cast returning for some Christmas adventures. Bad Moms at least had narrative drive in its protagonists' attempts to escape unhappy lives, lousy husbands and obnoxious kids. A Bad Moms Christmas adds grandmothers in Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski and Cheryl Hines, but offers few reasons for its own existence. With less than half the laughs despite the inclusion of several talented actresses, A Bad Moms Christmas is a tiresome cash grab.

Amy Mitchell (Kunis) is a happy single mom in a relationship with Jesse Harkness (Jay Hernandez). She promises her kids Christmas will be simple and fun, but those plans are instantly derailed when her constantly critical mother, Ruth (Baranski), arrives to commander the Christmas season. Kiki (Bell) and husband Kent (Lyle Brocato) are happier than in the last film, but Kiki is concerned that her overly attached mom, Sandy (Hines), will not leave when the presents are unwrapped. Carla (Hahn) is doing a much better job parenting her son, and is joined for Christmas by mom Isis (Sarandon), who she assumes is just crashing to beg for money. Title cards reveals the days until Christmas as the three friends struggle to make it through the holiday season. A Bad Moms Christmas is about as fun as living in these fictional dysfunctional homes.

I like an ensemble comedy as much as the next guy, but this really is a pointless movie. The rushed writing by Scott Moore and Jon Lucas (who also direct) is dull and repetitive. If an elementary age child saying "Oh my fucking God" over and over is your brand of humor, then I guess this one is for you. The material is surprisingly tame though, and the film really only earns its R rating for profanity and a couple of racier bits in Carla's salon. The action jumps from one manufactured conflict to another, usually stopping long enough for a pop-music highlight reel of the gals having fun or hanging with the kids. These happen at a shopping mall, a Sky Zone aerial gym, and a local bar as sexy santas strip for the patrons. Each is more boring than its predecessor.

The biggest disappointment here is how thoroughly this talented cast is wasted. I love Kunis and Bell, like Hahn and Sarandon, and can tolerate Baranski. This material is completely undemanding, and I am embarrassed for this crew, as it deserves better. I'm sure this will get a good number of viewings over a bottle of white wine, but this is not helping women in cinema. Moore and Lucas should know better, having written some decent modern comedies like The Hangover. They're also making a "Bad Dads," which seems completely contrary to the original premise of moms getting away from said baggage. Please, find your laughs elsewhere.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is bright, colorful and sharp, which is to be expected from a new release. The digitally sourced image offers excellent fine-object detail, crystal clear wide shots and boldly saturated colors. Black levels are good, digital noise is minimal and the entire presentation is crisp and pleasing.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix supports the largely dialogue-driven material nicely. The pop-music soundtrack is appropriately weighty, and ambient effects make use of the surrounds. All elements are balanced appropriately, and I noticed no overt issues with this mix. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This two-disc release includes the Blu-ray, a DVD and both iTunes and UltraViolet HD digital copies. The discs are packed in a standard case that is wrapped in a slipcover. Extras are minimal: a Gag Reel (6:36/HD); Additional Scenes (3:52/HD); a Crew Music Video (2:25/HD) and Trailers (4:38 total/HD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

I do not want to spend Christmas with anyone in this film, and A Bad Moms Christmas is not going to the top of anyone's Christmas list next year. The movie completely wastes a talented cast on sugary montages and tedious humor. Skip It.



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