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A Bad Moms Christmas movie review: The Shawshank Redemption is a funnier movie

A Bad Moms Christmas movie review: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn make for a talented trio, but honestly, cancelling Christmas sounds like a more cheerful idea than watching it again.

movie reviews Updated: Nov 17, 2017 08:44 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
A Bad Moms Christmas,A Bad Moms Christmas Review,A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review
Ho ho no: Kathryn Hahn, Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell in A Bad Moms Christmas.(AP)

A Bad Moms Christmas
Directors - Scott Moore, Jon Lucas
Cast - Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski
Rating - 0.5/5

Ask yourself this: How would you react if you walked into a Chinese restaurant (voluntarily, of course, salivating at the thought of some nice chow), and were served a piece of burnt toast instead? How would you feel if you ordered a pair of white underwear off the Internet, and they sent you hot pink ones ‘by mistake’? It’s safe to assume that you’d be most upset at this minor, yet endlessly infuriating inconvenience. You’d have to return the product, wait for them to receive it, and then spend 5-6 business days twiddling your thumbs till they send a refund.

You’d be well within your rights to feel cheated.

And that’s precisely the emotion A Bad Moms Christmas - the rushed, China-funded sequel to 2016’s Bad Moms - leaves you with. Only difference is, there’s no way you’re getting a pair of new undies at the end of this scenario. It’s a film that has been sold as a comedy along the lines of Bridesmaids - with raunchy hijinks, Christmas cheer and what to Hollywood’s eyes is a bigger gamble than funding a Scandinavian black & white movie: Funny women - but has zero laughs. None. Zilch. Not even a pity giggle.

And on that basis alone, The Shawshank Redemption is a funnier movie.

This image released by STX Entertainment shows Kristen Bell, from left, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn in the film, A Bad Moms Christmas. (AP)

There are films that you forget the moment you step out of the theatre. We’ve all been there, walking out of the dark auditorium, eyes adjusting to the lights, vaguely peeved at another two hours of our life flushed down the drain. Anyone who can recite the plot of the 2008 blockbuster Mamma Mia deserves some sort of a medal, or a firm handshake, or, if they have an earnest look in their eye, maybe even both.

But this goes deeper. The plot – even though A Bad Moms Christmas has none – thickens. There are – and this is the worst-case scenario we’re talking about here – films that you forget while you’re watching them. They don’t have to be long, these movies – by the mercy of God, A Bad Moms Christmas clocks in at an hour-and-a-half. But before 30 minutes have passed, children have already dropped numerous f-bombs, and you’ve been rudely stranded in the middle of a scene that involves a man’s nether regions being waxed (voluntarily, you guys), with no idea how you got there.

This image released by STX Entertainment shows Kathryn Hahn, left, and Susan Sarandon in the film, A Bad Moms Christmas. (AP)

If Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer himself were to jingle his way into my home, and in the nicest, most Christmassy voice quiz me on one – just one – detail about this movie in exchange of a present, I might as well slam the door in his adorable little face.

In it, Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), three remarkably bland women – united by race, socio-economic class, and intellect – have their less-than-fabulous lives unceremoniously gatecrashed by their equally insipid moms. It’s a set-up that we’ll unfortunately have to endure again much sooner than any of us had anticipated when Daddy’s Home 2 (starring renowned comedians Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson) lumbers into theatres soon.

This image released by STX Entertainment shows, from left, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn in the film, A Bad Moms Christmas. (AP)

And this lack of diversity, this lack of conflict among the lead trio poses a very unique problem for the movie, one that also affected the original Bad Moms. Whether consciously or not, though, at least this one addresses it. It’s another matter, however, that it does so by hurling three mom-shaped spanners into the works. It’s a move that draws exactly the results you’d imagine – it brings an already creaky operation down to a clanging halt.

No self-respecting human being expects intelligence out of A Bad Moms Christmas, but the introduction of Amy, Kiki and Carla’s moms should have, at the very least, made some insightful observations about mother-daughter relationships, and how with age, many of us find ourselves turning into versions of our parents we’d sworn we’d avoid.

This image released by STX Entertainment shows Mila Kunis, left, and Christine Baranski in the film, A Bad Moms Christmas. (AP)

And since this movie’s reaction to subtlety is similar to how Santa Claus would react when presented with a salad, it aims instead for broad humour, and spectacularly misses the mark. In fact, calling it a broad comedy would be like fat-shaming an entire genre.

A Bad Moms Christmas is a vile film. It’s a shameful low in the careers of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn, three supremely likable actors that are radiant in nearly everything else they’ve ever done. But fortunately, this is the last time either of us will be discussing it.

Watch the trailer for A Bad Moms Christmas here

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The author tweets @RohanNaahar

First Published: Nov 10, 2017 08:17 IST