Female audiences deserve better than ‘Bad Moms Christmas’

Mila Kunis (from left), Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn star in “A Bad Moms Christmas.” Contributed by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/STX Entertainment

Mila Kunis (from left), Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn star in “A Bad Moms Christmas.” Contributed by Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/STX Entertainment

In “A Bad Moms Christmas,” it’s double the moms, double the bad.

Last time around, a year and change ago, the “Bad Moms” were just a trio of Wine Moms — Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) — letting loose with some shots while letting go of perfectionism.

Now their moms — Ruth (Christine Baranski), Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and Isis (Susan Sarandon) — are in town for the holidays, and we’ve got a veritable cornucopia of naughty mommies.

“Bad Moms”: now with more emotional manipulation.

The existential plight of the Wine Mom — who seeks relief from the crushing weight of heteronormative capitalist patriarchy at the bottom of a chardonnay bottle — is a real cultural crisis. Someone should shine a light on this, but co-writers and co-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are not those storytellers. Mostly because one has to wonder if Lucas and Moore have ever even met human women. These characters are cartoonish campy drag personae of women, categorized by their attributes, like Santa’s reindeer or the Smurfs: Stressy, Crazy, Slutty, Critical, Clingy and Drifter.

“Bad Moms” seemed to spring from a single inspirational scene, with the rest of the movie written around it (moms going crazy at a house party), and “A Bad Moms Christmas” takes the same approach. So when the “twerking on Santa” sequence is over within the first 10 minutes, the film is adrift, filled with so much tedious male stripper filler material. It’s the “Bad Moms” Meet “Magic Mike” Holiday Extravaganza, only with truly ghastly dancing.

“A Bad Moms Christmas” is a poorly gift-wrapped Pinterest fail of a movie. The Scotch tape in the equation, bravely straining to hold things together, are the emphatic line deliveries, made to trick us into thinking lines that are not jokes are, actually, jokes. The bows and trim, attempting to distract from obvious seams, are the endless slow-motion montages of mayhem set to pop tunes.

What’s offensive about “A Bad Moms Christmas” (and “Bad Moms”) is just how shoddily made it is. Female audiences deserve better movies than this. Furthermore, it positions the enemies of moms as other moms — not the rigidly gendered social structures and expectations that demand women do the majority of the domestic and emotional labor. Rather than men or money being the enemy, it’s other women, and that’s not fair. Here’s to hoping for “A Bad Moms Revolution” as the final installment.


“A Bad Moms Christmas”

Grade: D+

Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn. Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use. Check listings for theaters. 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Bottom line: Shoddily made film with more emotional manipulation