Review: A Bad Moms Christmas

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: The "Bad Moms" are back and this time they are dealing with the terrifying pressure of preparing the family for the holidays. Things get complicated for the trio when their own dysfunctional mothers show up to cause a little trouble.

REVIEW: Working at a site with other critics, you sometimes miss a movie that perhaps earned a bit of buzz. One such comedy was the Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn feature BAD MOMS. Thus, I went into A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS knowing very little about what I was about to witness, aside from it looking like just a dumb comedy. And yes, the sequel can be a dumb comedy, at times very much so. But you know what else it is? It’s pretty damn funny. The strange thing about that is I didn’t find the previews for either films all that inviting. There is nothing necessarily unique in the formula, it’s flawed characters doing wacky things for a laugh. And ultimately somebody – or perhaps everybody – learns a valuable lesson. Original or not, there are worse ways you can spend your time.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS brings back the mothers from the first film, and this time they are all planning for their family holidays. Of course, nothing brings family together like Christmas, so now we get to meet the OG mom’s to Amy (Kunis), KiKi (Bell) and Carla (Hahn). Amy’s mother Ruth (Christine Baranski) is controlling and cold to her own daughter, but she buries her grandchildren in expensive gifts. Carla’s mom Isis (Susan Sarandon) is a carefree yet irresponsible woman who only shows up to get money from her daughter – and yes, that is her characters name. And finally there is KiKi’s mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) who is desperate to be best buds with her daughter in the most uncomfortable of ways. Will the moms and their families survive a holiday together? Well you can probably figure that out, but it works much better than it sounds.

a bad moms christmas kathryn hahn kristen bell mila kunis christine baranski cheryl hines susan sarandon jon lucas scott moore justin hartley

Having not witnessed the misadventures in the first film, I was curious to see just how well the trio would work together. And frankly, that is a big reason why this was as entertaining as it was. Mila Kunis is very charming here, much like she was in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. And speaking of SARAH MARSHALL, the lovely Ms. Bell is at her best as a vulnerable mother with a good heart. However, it is the third mom that really brings the laughter. Kathryn Hahn generously delivers the guffaws every single time she is on screen. One of the most hilarious moments has Carla having a disturbingly “romantic” exchange with a male stripper named Ty (the very funny Justin Hartley); while she is waxing his balls. It’s bizarrely kind of sweet and both Hahn and Hartley are terrific together. Sure Hahn is the stand out, but the chemistry between all three leads is near perfect.

When it comes to the lovable mom’s moms, the casting of Baranski, Sarandon and Hines are all solid choices. Sarandon effortlessly plays a mother who hasn’t figured out how to truly BE a mom. And Hines, who is just as adorable as Bell, desperately tries to connect to KiKi, but her boundary issues create some inspired comedic moments. And then there is Baranski. First off, the actress can play a role like this in her sleep. Her performance is what it needs to be in the script, and she embraces every single aspect of it. Albeit I’m not sure if she and Kunis actually look like they are even remotely related, but they work well together. However there is a downside to Ruth and it’s a big one.

Now that praising of Baranski and her performance is over, here is the bad news. Let’s face it, she is a wonderfully talented actress. And while she is good here, the character she portrays is just an awful individual whom I wanted nothing to do with. The script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore paints Ruth as such a smug and undesirable human being, it is hard to really care what happens to her. In fact, the villain-like Ruth appears to be in a slightly darker and different movie. And when the final half hour comes along, I didn’t believe that she would grow in any way, shape or form. Again, nothing to do with her performance really, just an abysmal character.

Writing and directing team Lucas and Moore have done a fine job of bringing these talented women together for a fun and lighthearted comedy. There are enough laughs to keep you interested, even if you know where it’s going – this is a movie that is unlikely to surprise anybody in terms of story. However, it is a solid sequel that will be a perfect mother/daughter date night. And frankly, guys should find something to enjoy as well. A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS isn’t going to change the world, but it will give you smoothing to smile about. And you know what, that is always welcome. Hell, if you want to just have a fun time at the movies, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS is an enjoyable way to forget about all the insanity for a couple of hours.


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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.