Comedy sequels can be tough. I always feel like they need a real solid story but most times just end up being a tired retread of the first one. Even worse is when a sequel to a great comedy just isn’t funny. My review of the first Bad Moms started like this, “FINALLY! A comedy this summer that was funny. I sat through Neighbors 2 and rolled my eyes every twenty seconds. I sat through Mike and Dave that could have been just so much more funny. I sat through Central Intelligence which was more action than comedy. I sat through The Lobster that some critics said was “A RIOT!” which I don’t know what they were smoking…that was not a comedy. But Bad Moms is a comedy that made me laugh. Out loud. Over and over again.” I rated that film a solid A.

That film came out in July 29, 2016 and A Bad Moms Christmas was released on November 1, 2017. Just over a year later. That is one quick turnaround for a sequel. What that’ll usually say about a film is it was completely rushed through the scripting phase and rushed into production. Since this was a Christmas movie they needed to get everyone together, get it filmed, get it edited, and get it out into theaters. Still I had hope because Bad Moms writers/directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas were back to write and direct the sequel. Opening day I sat down in a pretty decent sized theater with a good intermingling of men and women (when I saw Bad Moms in theaters it was myself, my brother-in-law, and about sixty women). The movie started. The laughter did not. I don’t want to be a dick in theaters but I Tweeted twice and texted once – something I NEVER DO. But I am going to share.

Tweet #1

Tweet #2

And near the end I texted this over to my wife.

Once the film ended a credits sequence popped up with the characters dancing or something. I grabbed my coat and ran out of the theater like the police were after me.

A Bad Moms Christmas is a stale, tired, rushed, completely unfunny sequel taking everything that was great about the characters in the first film and watering it all completely down. Now the cursing is still there. Lots and lots of cursing. But the characters are unfunny and uninspired. The plot of the film?

It’s Christmas time and each one of the Bad Moms mothers show up for the holiday. Amy’s (Mila Kunis) mom Ruth (Christine Baranski) is your typical WASPy super bitch. Kiki’s (Kristen Bell) mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) is a smothering mother with zero boundaries (including a scene where she is sitting in the dark watching her daughter get it on with her husband….IN THE SAME ROOM). Crass and crazy Carla’s (Kathryn Hahn) mother Isis (Susan Sarandon) is an ex REO Speedwagon roadie who only shows up for money.

The plot of the films is the moms’ moms show up. There are some disagreements. The moms don’t revolt or anything they just sort of comply with their own mothers until they kind of stick up for themselves. The older mothers have some realizations and the movie ends. That’s the entire film. There is nothing else to the film. They pepper it with a ton of cursing, Carla is kinda sorta still funny, and there’s some ball waxing.  At least Carla’s relationship with her mother diverts from the other two storylines a bit.  But it feels insipid.

I sat there in the theater and about 30 minutes in I decided to take note of the laughter or lack their of. Not many women laughed. There was one dude who laughed every so often. I snickered a couple times.

This movie is what it is. A cash grab thrown together quickly to cash in on the first great film. I’m going to bring back Neighbors 2 along with Bad Santa 2 and Christmas Vacation. Neighbors 2 was a movie that was a sequel to a decently funny film.  Except that Neighbors 2 was just completely horrible. Zac Efron was Seth Rogen’s nemesis in the first film but in the second they team up to take on the new sorority girls who move in next door to Rogen. So Efron and Rogen team up to stop their partying ways or whatever. It’s so bad and stupid I don’t even want to waste any more time on my home row talking about it. Bad Santa 2 was released last year and I was looking forward to it as it took many years to get the film into theaters. You would have thought they would have had a solid script after waiting 13 years for the sequel. It too was a horrible, unfunny, cash grab of a piece of crap.

Christmas Vacation was a film that was a sequel to an unfunny sequel to a very funny film. Like Bad Moms 2 there isn’t much of a plot. There are some amazing actors in it which really helps it along. But probably the most important aspect of Christmas Vacation is a fun, quality screenplay by legendary writer/director John Hughes. Hughes only returned to write the film since he had a great idea – basing the screenplay on his own experiences which he wrote out for an issue of National Lampoon magazine. Christmas Vacation may be silly, funny, and ultimately doesn’t have much of a plot – but the movie is still funny all these years later.

A Bad Moms Christmas is the equivalent of holiday waterboarding. It is almost like before shooting the script supervisor took a red pen to the script and just cut out anything that may be funny. There is also so much slo-mo in this movie that Zack Snyder called the directors and threatened to sue them for ripping off 300.

The first Bad Moms at least had a great antagonist in Christina Applegate and her minions Annie Mumolo and Jada Pinkett Smith. The sequel has no antagonists (as it has zero plot). The moms shows up and infiltrate the trio’s lives but the tension is so minimal. Two of the moms are just overbearing WASPs. At least Sarandon as a pot-smoking free spirit is a bit more interesting. They had quality casting with Sarandon, Hines (who was REALLY good), and Baranski but the script fails them in every aspect.

It’s a shame because here’s the thing. The movie was released one day after Halloween. Halloween night I was in theaters watching Rocky Horror Picture Show and while that is cheesy and weird it is at least FUN. Sarandon was so amazing in it. My other Halloween favorite is Addams Family Values where Baranski rocks as a WASPy camp counselor. But you know what she was? SHE WAS ALSO FUNNY. On the flip side Baranski had also previously starred in a great Christmas black comedy with Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary called The Ref. That is a damn good Christmas movie.

There’s also things that completely make no sense and there’s going to be some very minor plot spoilage if you can consider any of this trash screenplay actually having a plot. Sarandon’s character leaves on Christmas Eve but decides to come back. She announces she is staying and found a local job. The character headed out of town late Christmas Eve, then goes to midnight mass at a church, and the next day is Christmas Day when she reveals her new job. I’m not sure when she had the time to fill out an application, interview, and snag the job at this local place, nor that this place would be hiring on Christmas Eve/Day, or that it would be even be open.  Even more idiotic is all the characters having dinner at the tail end of the film. A love interest for Carla shows up and she asks, “How did you find me?” The guy says, “I just looked for you.” Unless the guy is a stalker who put a GPS in Carla’s car there is no way he could know where to find Carla. The character lives out of state so he flies back and somehow figures out where to find Carla at her friends’s house. A friend he doesn’t know. This is called the laziest of lazy screenwriting.

A Bad Moms Christmas is just another in the latest of horrible sequels to pretty good original comedy films. Just like most of these bad comedy sequels it is lacking one very essential ingredient: the comedy.


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