By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
There’s something about Christmas that brings out the best and worst in people.
No one knows this better than the trio of young women in the new movie “A Bad Moms Christmas.”
This raunchy comedy from directors/screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore is the sequel to their 2016 sleeper hit, “Bad Moms.”
While that movie centered around Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn feeling under-appreciated, overworked and fed-up with every aspect of motherhood, this one takes aim at these frazzled, Chicago suburbanites rebelling against the pressures and expectations of Christmas.
It might be the most wonderful time of the year for some people, but not them. It’s the week before Christmas and Kiki (Kristen Bell, TV’s “The Good Place”) is frantically trying to clean and decorate her house, but her mischievous kids are getting on her last nerve.
Her husband Kent (Lyle Brocato, “Get Out”) tries to lend a hand, but most of the real parenting duties always fall on her.
Amy (Kunis, TV’s “Family Guy”) tries so hard to make Christmas special for her two pre-teens, Dylan (Emjay Anthony, TV’s “What Would Diplo Do?”) and Jane (Oona Laurence, “Pete’s Dragon”), but she always feels like a failure.
Fortunately, she has her boyfriend Jesse (Jay Hernandez, TV’s “Scandal”) around for support, but there’s a reason for her insecurities.
Meanwhile, Carla (Hahn) has matured quite a bit she we last saw her. She’s still crazy as ever, but at least she’s taken some positive step for her son Jaxon (Cade Mansfield Cooksey, “Free State of Jones” and “Bad Moms”).
Carla works in an upscale spa giving Brazilian waxes. Despite her wilding ways, she would like to have someone special in her life. For her there really is a Santa Claus.
Amy, Kiki and Carla get the surprise of their lives when their mothers show up unexpectedly.
Amy’s mother Ruth (a hilarious Christine Baranski, TV’s “The Good Wife,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Michael Jackson’s Halloween”) is a bit haughty, not to mention a perfectionist.
As soon as she arrives with Amy’s father, Hank (Peter Gallagher, TV’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) she rips on Amy’s cheap looking Christmas décor, her cooking and parenting skills.
Of course, the kids love grandma Ruth because she spoils them with high end gifts, but everything she does drives Amy crazy especially when she hires a design team to totally transform their house into an epic winter wonderland complete with a funny and live musical performance by Kenny G, who according to Ruth, is the “Godfather of Smooth Jazz.”
Kiki’s mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines, TV’s “Nobodies”) is nosy and such a busybody. She wants to still control her daughter’s life so much that she plans to buy a house right next door to her. What’s worse she even tries to dress like Kiki.
Meanwhile, Carla’s mother Isis—yes, like the terrorist group-- (a wildly funny Susan Sarandon, TV’s “Ray Donovan”), is a former roadie for REO Speedwagon. She’s still embracing her rocker chick looks too.
Isis hasn’t seen Carla in about three years. After a few joints and chugs of liquor, she thinks she’s arrived for Easter instead of Christmas. Yep, she has baggage.
Naturally these families converge and dysfunction ensues. So much so, that Kiki and Sandy have to see a shrink (a funny Wanda Sykes, TV’s “Vampirina”) to try and work through their issues.
But it’s when Kiki, Amy, and Carla decide to rebel against Christmas and get away from all their parent’s expectations and do what they want that “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” really gets its wings and flies.
Their first stop for mayhem is the mall food court. They get drunk, run amok, steal a Christmas tree from Footlocker and even give Santa some memorable moments.
Carla manages to find the love of her life when a male stripper named Ty (Justin Hartley, TV’s “This is Us”) comes into the shop to get part of his impressive package waxed. It’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
There are more hits than misses in “A Bad Mom’s Christmas.” And I would have never imagined that Christine Baranski—who I loved in “The Good Wife”--could be so funny, but she is, especially when she makes Amy go caroling dressed as Charles Dickens. Amy gets embarrassed when they arrive at Gwendolyn’s house (Christina Applegate, “Bad Moms”) and she and her friends laugh at her.
“A Bad Mom’s Christmas” is the first major holiday movie out the gate and it’s a jolly good time.
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Take A Peek At This Trailer For A BAD MOM'S CHRISTMAS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.