Bad Moms 2
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines
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Bad Moms 2 chugs along as entertainment and is quickly forgotten.
With its terrible title and clichéd premise, 2016’s Bad Moms was funnier and more heartfelt than it had any right to be, simultaneously reminding us just how much our mothers do for us, and the potential for female driven comedies at the box office. This time round, with a festive theme and a much bigger cast, Bad Moms 2 might not be better, but still manages to hit the successful themes of the first.
Self-proclaimed bad mother Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is sick and tired of stressing herself out over making Christmas perfect for her family; but just as she and best friends Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) decide to have a laidback Christmas this year, each of their own mothers – Amy’s mum Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki’s mum Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and Carla’s mum Isis (Susan Sarandon) – decide to spend Christmas with their daughters, creating chaotic shenanigans as morals and personalities clash.
Bad Moms 2 definitely doesn’t exceed its predecessor in terms of heart: the story, of which there is little, focuses mostly on our original bad mums coming to terms with their own mothers being bad mums themselves, rehashing emotional beats from the first. But what makes this work are the relationships between mother and daughter – Christine Baranski is a powerhouse, perfect for the belittling relationship she has with Mila Kunis’ Amy; Cheryl Hines’ neuroses match Kristen Bell’s; and Susan Sarandon goes all out, standing toe-to-toe with Kathryn Hahn’s signature balls to the wall comedic chops. Each actress is evenly matched, and what’s most interesting is watching them all work together to create these relationships.
Yet this sequel also isn’t as funny as the first, despite a few standout scenes and supporting performances. Wanda Sykes’ surprise return as a family counselor is well worth it, as was This Is Us’s Justin Hartley’s comedic turn as Carla’s stripper-love interest; he steals every scene he’s in. However, many of the bigger, Christmas-related gags and recurring jokes don’t land nearly as well as intended, with laugh-out-loud moments few and far between. Bad Moms 2 chugs along as entertainment and is quickly forgotten.