Six enormously talented actresses elevate Bad Moms 2 to a higher plane than where a comedy film like this should exist.
Mila Kunis (Family Guy) as Amy.
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) as Kiki.
Kathryn Hahn (Transparent) as Carla.
Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Kiki’s mom Sandy.
Christine Baranski (The Good Wife) as Amy’s mom Ruth.
Susan Sarandon (Ray Donovan) as Carla’s mom Isis.
Canny direction and a tremendous script from Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (The Hangover) give the ladies solid material to work with, but it is in their performances, fleshing out cartoon aspects of the MILF characters they portray, that enable the two female trios to deliver both enormous laughs and heartfelt drama.
The film opens with Amy sat amidst a destroyed house, in the aftermath of a party gone wrong. She confesses she ruined Xmas and the film jumps back to 6 days prior.
Amy’s mother phones to let her know she is coming to stay for Xmas. Unwelcome news to Amy, performance anxiety kicks in as she frets about making her home seem up to her mother’s impossible to achieve standard of perfection.
Kiki’s mum Sandy doesn’t even pay her daughter the courtesy of a phone call, turning up unannounced wearing a hand knitted jumper embalzoned with Kiki’s face.
Carla’s mum Isis (yes, Isis) pulls up to her daughter’s house in a semi trailer, having hitched her way there, oblivious to the fact that it is a week from Xmas.
Naturally the mothers and daughters all have unresolved issues and the film takes great joy in making the daughters squirm as they try to avoid disappointing their parents at that special time of year.
The film makes great points about the enormous pressures on families, (in particular wives and mothers), to create a perfect Xmas experience, providing food, gifts, decorations and the associated trimmings seemingly required of December every year.
When the girls get together and compare notes they agree to “break bad” and take Xmas back, unleashing a series of fantastically funny set pieces involving shopping malls and amusement parks.
Underpinning the shenanigans are the solid performances from these seasoned professionals who make it look so easy to portray these complicated characters who just want to get along with their family.
It is a premise we can all relate to, and this really surprised me with how good it is.
The male characters (a new boyfriend, the husbands, the male stripper) are funny, but rightfully relegated to secondary roles in this bawdy chicks flick that is al about the sisters doin’ it for themselves, and their families.
What surprised me the most was being moved to tears late in the film as it built to an emotional climax with a lot of heart. It must be my time of the month.
I initially though the timing of the films release 53 days out from Xmas was stupid, but it makes perfect sense once you see the film and understand that it has to do with the massive build-up to Xmas that kicks off even before Halloween. Call it ridiculous, but I’ve been enjoying Coles Xmas Cake for several weeks now. I think it also helped that I went to my screening directly from coffee with my own mum, and we pretty much always discuss parenting.
And I think audiences seeking a classic Xmas film in years to come could do a lot worse, (I’m looking at you “The Night Before”and I’m shocked I gave that 3 stars).
3 & 1/2 Stars “Solid Comedy With An Awesome Cast”