Bad Mom's Christmas
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Bad Mom's Christmas

In the world of music, one tradition cuts across the vast expanse of genres, the Christmas album. From sentimental crooners to hard rockers musicians have put aside their specific category of musical expression to embrace the classical holiday forms. This has transferred over to other forms of entertainment, and for this consideration, movies. The specific example is ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’. Primarily, it is a sequel to the 2016 raunchy comedy, ‘Bab Moms’. This type of film belongs to a well-defined branch of humor that fully embraces the lowest and most vulgar comedy feasible. Juxtaposing such puerile antics with traditions held in such sentimental, even sacred brings the level of potential offensiveness to its nadir. There is something about movies of this nature that has become consistent. The movies are always given particularly low ratings among the critical community. The rational behind this are straightforward. They appeal to the lowest aspects of humanity, or at least the most juvenile elements of our personalities. From a technical perspective the films are geared towards an audience consisting of middle school boys sneaking into a movie on the weekend. This demographic is insufficient to warrant the attention and financial support of the major movie studios. The actual target audience for these films due encompass high school and college age guys but also includes adults that still host that inner child that continues to laugh at scatological humor. There’s no shame to harboring this persistent reminder of recess swapping fart jokes with classmates. With the constant pressures of adult lives, especially with the socio-political environment so extremely volatile and divisive, it is often reassuring to return to those simpler times. ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ takes those beloved family traditions twisting back on themselves with humorous results. As a critic rating a movie should be accomplished according to a set criterion. That measure, applied to movies like this, warrant the low assessment. However, this does not fully represent the degree of success the filmmaker achieved in achieving the goals set for the movie. ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’, was designed to be rude, crude and socially offensive. It is the epitome of anti-political correctness and many people relish the opportunity to laugh hardily.

In the original film, three mothers meet during a time each of them is stressed beyond reason because of their material responsibilities. Relying on tropes and archetypes so frequently employed they are essentially mandatory. Ostensibly, the primary point of view character is Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis), a recently divorced mother of two children, Jane (Oona Laurence) and Dylan (Emjay Anthony). Her relationship with her ex-husband, Mike, is amiable with him sharing custody. Amy has become serious with her boyfriend, Jesse (Jay Hernandez), aided by the fact that the kids get along very well with him. With Christmas rapidly approaching Amy is looking forward to a holiday season devoid of drama. Thoughts of peaceful family time evaporates when Amy’s mother, Ruth (Christine Baranski), texts her daughter announcing a holiday visit. Ruth is hypercritical, the sole arbiter of all decisions and protocols.

After the antics comprising the previous movie, Kiki (Kristen Bell) has been getting more help from her husband Kent (Lyle Brocato), but managing a household along with four children is extremely taxing. Her stress soars to upsetting heights when her mother, Sandy (Cheryl Hines), arrives three days earlier than planned. Sandy’s need to express her love of her daughter erodes all personal boundaries. When Kiki and Kent are becoming intimate the notice Sandy is sitting in the corner of the bedroom. Her explanation is she always she always loved watching Kiki asleep. The final and most boisterous of the group, Carla (Kathryn Hahn) comes home from a grueling day working at a spa. Her function was waxing the clients, removing hair from the private region from an unending mas of hirsute women. Rather than the anticipated rest Carla is met by her mother, Isis (Susan Sarandon). Unlike her two best friends, Carla is happy to receive a visit from her mom. The have similar loud, pushy and often obnoxious personalities. Within seconds of saying hello the are in front of the house sharing a joint and joking with a vulgar vocabulary.

Ruth takes over Amy’s household ignoring her daughter’s plans of a quite holiday. Ruth has invited almost two hundred people over expecting a lavish gala. The trio of moms meet at the mall to trade stories of maternal invasions deciding the only course of action was to get drunk at the food court. After copious quantities beer the steal a garish aluminum tree from a store. Amy props it up in the living room to the horror of her mother. The next morning, she awakens to the clatter of a small army of some examples that workmen transforming her home into a holiday extravaganza. In the front yard a moving depiction of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ including a flock of a dozen birds flying away. Ruth notes that the birds have no survival skills and will be dead in an hour. Displeased with their grey color she asks the workers to paint them white. Amy’s father Hank (Peter Gallagher), are constantly throwing extravagant gifts at her children. Ehen the friends meet for some mutual commiseration they agree they must take Christmas back.

The circumstances that provide the motivation for the story is obviously predicable. Simplistic and contrived but on the level on providing genuinely entertaining flick that will let that juvenile side deep within out to play. Critics must deconstruct the cinematic elements of the movie but there are some that cannot be properly examined in this fashion. You do not sit down to watch a movie like this expecting to uncover hidden meanings or multiple levels of depth. You go to forget being a grownup and laugh until your sides splits and it is difficult to catch your breath. To that end this movie works and is a contender for being a seasonal cult classic. Knowing that the movie is going to be panned by the online ratings aggregate sites lends a distinct sense of freedom to the filmmaker, screenwriter and the cast. The movie boasts a remarkable cast of amazing performers each possessing a broad, eclectic range of talent an observation that applies to both generations of actresses.

The story does attempt to expand upon the emotional content of the story by focusing on various aspects of the mother-daughter relationship. With all the crass antics that fill every moment of the movie there is a foundation of realistic character development. Most of the audience can personally relate to either the relationships personally or by proxy through wives, daughters or sisters. While it admittedly seems that the infusion of emotional content is pure plot contrivance and the rampant ideal solutions to all the problems, conflicts and divisions is a contagious case of Deus ex Machina, this is common for the genre. This emotional barrage ranging from the near pathological dependency of Sandy towards Kiki or Carla’s whirlwind romance with male stripper/fire fighter Ty Swindel (Justin Hartley), helps to balance the completely absurd story with relatable emotional content. Have some friends over, order a few pizza pies and a case of beer and have some fun. It doesn’t even need to be Christmas time.

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Posted 02/11/2018

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