A Bad Moms Christmas (3 stars)

A Bad Moms Christmas

Festive comedy that sees the original's hellraisers joined by their own fun-loving moms

Without a moment to find space for an apostrophe in the title, 2016's hit comedy Bad Moms has been swiftly recycled for a festive season sequel; writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are double-dipping on the same blend of raunch and sentiment which worked for them in The Hangover.

Those coming late to the party shouldn't find it hard to catch up. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn play three hardworking Chicago mothers bringing up their kids on their terms. This time, rather than taking on a prissy school hierarchy, they're facing a turf war against their own mothers, played by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon respectively. As the stress of the festive season bites, mother-daughter relations become strained, get broken and are then patched up, with regular sports / drinking montages and a full-blown dance sequence for the closing credits.

Hahn ran away with the original film, but this seasonal re-jig gives her less to do; it's the older generation's chance to get down and dirty. The usually classy Baranski licks icing from a giant gingerbread phallus, while Sarandon cavorts on a bar with a male-stripper Santa. Such wilfully adult / juvenile antics are the whole point of the Bad Moms franchise, and returning minor characters such as Christina Applegate's snooty rival and Wanda Sykes's sassy counsellor ensure consistency.

The weakness here is that the three moms seldom get to demonstrate their chemistry; instead, their paths rarely cross. But the trademark irreverence keeps proceedings likeable, and in the face of such an onslaught of swearing, casual drug-use and cheerful excess, it seems churlish to complain. The aim, as Hahn's character says, is to 'put the ass into Christm-ass,' and that vulgar goal is confidently achieved.

General release from Wed 1 Nov.

A Bad Moms Christmas

  • 3 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 1h 44min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Scott Moore, Jon Lucas
  • Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon
  • UK release: 1 November 2017

Three under-appreciated and over-burdened women rebel against the challenges and expectations of being a mother at Christmas.