Ahh yes, the cinematic comedy sequel. These past several years, we have gotten many comedic sequels, whether they were made by popular demand, the means of nostalgia or the fact that Hollywood is running out of ideas.
Although we have some gems like 22 Jump Street, the Kung Fu Panda films… even Men In Black 3, Scream 4 and others, which are at least good in their own terms, we also have Zoolander 2, Dumb and Dumber To, Cars 2, The Hangover Part II and others. They were either tired retreads, misunderstandings of what made the originals cherished or just awful on all factors.
So when I went into Bad Moms 2 (aka A Bad Moms Christmas), I went in with an open mind. All the factors that made the original enjoyable are back, but I wanted something a little bit more than just a retread. Something inspired that would bring the film to another level. Does the sequel manage to do that?
Under-appreciated and overburdened moms Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) are back and they all have their families under control: loved and tended for. But there’s one thing that happens every year that they dread: the festive spirit of Christmas.
As if creating the perfect holiday for their families isn’t hard enough, they’ll have to do it while hosting and entertaining their own respective mothers (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) when they come to visit. Time to get the Christmas spirit… from the liquor bottle!
Now I have to admit, in the first 10-15 minutes of the film, it was beginning to look a hell of a lot like a retread of the first Bad Moms. It was still amusing and the cast haven’t lost a beat, which isn’t a surprise since the last film came out just last year.
Hell, in retrospect, all of the positives and negatives of the first film are replicated here, whether its the talented cast, the mega-happy conclusion, the overuse of slow-motion montages and the cartoonish execution undermining the film’s thematic potential. I could have easily just copied and pasted my review of the original film and that would be the end of it.
But there is one thing that makes this sequel a good continuation of the original: the new supporting characters played by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon. Such inspired casting would be either underused or ill-advised, but writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore realise their comedic potential.
By giving them ample screen-time (separately as well as together as an ensemble), the actresses end up stealing the show from the leads. And despite the exaggerated portrayals, Lucas and Moore give them enough emotional grounding to see where the characters are coming from, that people can relate to.
Hines nails the delicateness, the clinginess of her character perfectly while Sarandon is great as the unruly mother of Carla, who’s either buzzed from drugs, alcohol or something else we might not want to know.
But the real stand-out is Baranski, who perfects the ice queen stereotype as if she made the damn thing. Having enjoyed her work since The Birdcage and Bowfinger, she effortlessly nails questionable material (either racial or cliched) just from her delivery alone.
And of course in a Bad Moms sequel, there’s a new flirtation device. Basically taking over the role from Jay Hernandez (who now plays the punching bag of Baranski’s character), Justin Hartley plays Ty, a fireman who’s also a stripper. Hartley is a great sport in the role and the interactions between him and Hahn are some of the funniest parts of the film, due to how sincere they play the scene out.
This is gonna be a shorter review than the norm, but one thing is for certain. If you liked the first Bad Moms film, then you’ll like Bad Moms 2. It’s just that simple. And while it could’ve been a tired retread, the additions of Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon kick the film back into high gear.
If there’s one spin-off with potential out there, it’s in this film.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Bad Moms 2 hits cinemas this Thursday, November 2nd