A movie about three American moms who decide to “take back” Christmas while getting drunk at a mall food court may not compare to some Oscar-winning films. But just as the world needs its Ruth Chris Steak Houses, it also needs its McDonald’s. Watching “A Bad Moms Christmas” was like diving into a large cup of McDonald’s french fries: It leaves you a little guilty and salty, but you still love every second of the experience.
The guilty and salty part alludes to the comedy in the movie. The three moms (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) want to enjoy Christmas again, just like when they were kids. They’re done with being gift-giving machines. But the plan is derailed when their own moms pop in for surprise visits.
The characters’ “liberated mom” image is conveyed through scenes played in slow motion to blaring party music. If someone made a sandwich in slow motion with Taylor Swift playing, they’d look 100 times more entertaining, too. So yes, it’s a loud, debaucherous comedy filled with alcohol and penis-shaped gingerbread cookies. But in a witty era that’s surpassed the Jim Carrey decade of slapstick humor that the 2000s loved, some of this is refreshing.
A scene involving the three moms stealing a shoe-ornamented Christmas tree from Foot Locker was a personal favorite. And seeing a grandma take a dodgeball to the crotch is strangely endearing. It should also be considered that this is a Christmas comedy, a subgenre that can sometimes be excused from harsh criticism because Christmas is magical.
On the Christmas note, Kunis’s character said it herself: “I want a more chill Christmas this year.” Instead of taking her kids to see the “The Nutcracker,” she took them the Sky Zone Trampoline Park. It was like the director’s wink to the audience: “A Bad Moms Christmas” is the Sky Zone Trampoline Park of movies during this season. Don’t take it too seriously. Really, it’s meant to be played in the background of your living room as you drink eggnog and chat with your visiting aunts during winter break. And there’s something comforting about that.
But it was the focus on mother-daughter relationships that brought the tears. The first “Bad Moms” was more generalized about the relationship between a mother and her children. But I think mom and daughter duos, especially when the daughters are grown up, are extra special. If you’re not a daughter and are looking for a more hard-hitting comedy, go watch “Thor: Ragnarok.” But if you think you’d like watching Kunis’s on-screen mother (Christine Baranski) make her dress up as Scrooge and go caroling, then go see “A Bad Moms Christmas.”