The original ‘Bad Moms’ was not a film that demanded a sequel in any way necessary. Its treatment was particularly formulaic, hitting every predictable beat along the way, but as generic as it proved to be, it couldn’t help but rise above itself thanks to a committed cast that made it funnier than it had right any to be.
For ‘Bad Moms 2’ it’s more of the same, but that doesn’t mean it’s a negative as the decision from writer/directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas (screenwriters of the original ‘Hangover’) to let their cast of capable comediennes run free allows this second go-around an injection of genuine comedy that will take many by surprise.
As tends to be the case with films centred around Christmas, the supposed “most wonderful time of the year” is anything but for the titular mothers who decide they’re going to “take Christmas back” in a bid to enjoy the holiday season as opposed to bestowing joy for others to benefit.
Recently separated Amy (Mila Kunis) feels quietly confident that she can deliver a mellow season for her two pre-teen children and new beau Jessie (Jay Hernandez). Tightly wound Kiki (Kristen Bell) hopes to escape the suffocation of her demanding infants. And loose cannon Carla (Kathryn Hahn) will be satisfied if she can make it through the holidays alive.
Of course all of this may seem relatively feasible if it wasn’t for their own mothers arriving (somewhat) unannounced to steer the holidays in a direction that best suits them, and as much as we all know that the film will present conflict and resolution in various comedic, heartfelt ways, the healthy smattering of raunch helps tone down any schmaltz one may be expecting.
Amy’s push-pull relationship with her diva mother Ruth (a scene-stealing Christine Baranski, pictured below right) earns the most traction within the film, and as calculating as she proves to be, Baranski is just so damned good that you’re able to forgive the script for creating such a horrid force.
Cheryl Hines as Kiki’s mother Sandy provides the film’s more uncomfortable material as her character is eerily fond of her own daughter, so much to the point that she copies her haircut and screen-prints her face over a pair of pyjamas; a therapy session between Bell, Hines and Wanda Sykes is quite possibly the funniest insight the film offers into Sandy’s unhinged state of mind.
And as for Carla, well her carefree attitude towards parenting and fornicating is clearly the result of being “raised” by Susan Sarandon’s Isis (“like the terrorist organisation” she so graciously states), and as much as the actress could sleepwalk her way through the film given this kind of role, she still so graciously delivers a wild performance that bounces well of Hahn’s unpredictable energy.
Much like the first film, ‘Bad Moms 2’ lives and dies off the strength of its cast, and the natural chemistry between Kunis, Bell and Hahn keeps the film afloat whenever it threatens to weaken its wit. Another fine example of female-led entertainment that caters to a broader audience, this snappy sequel finds the delight in acting a little devious.
Bad Moms 2 is in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: