A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Bad Moms Christmas is the sequel to Bad Moms and has similar levels of raunch, drinking, drugs, and language. Expect plenty of sexual content -- including jokes about an impressively endowed man (a stripping scene shows the "evidence" via a prominent outline in his underwear), a scene in which a nude man holds his legs over his head so that a waxer at a spa can get at his private parts, scenes involving licking/eating a large gingerbread penis, and a young girl who repeats what she's heard her dad's girlfriend yelling at night ("Oh my f---ing God"). There's also tons of drinking, iffy drunken choices, shoplifting, sexy dances with a mall Santa, and public joint-smoking by one grandma in particular. Language is raunchy, with lots of body part words ("p---y," "c--k," "balls," "t-ts," "d--k," "boner") and cursing ("f--k," "s--t"). People with larger body types are the target of a couple of jokes, particularly when a large man swings his flesh gamely during a stripping competition and is booed by the crowd. In other scenes, an intolerant character calls her daughter's (Latino) boyfriend Jesus (not his name) and tells him to go get her luggage, as if he's a servant. But underneath it all are messages about the importance of friendship and mother-daughter bonds.
What's the story?
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, the follow-up to 2016's hit comedy Bad Moms, centers around the same raucous trio of moms: Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn), and Kiki (Kristen Bell). Now it's Christmastime, and all the moms are fed up. Not only are they responsible for the uncountable tasks that go into making a "magical" holiday (on top of schedules that are already busy), but each of them is hosting holiday guests: Amy's demanding mom, Ruth (national treasure Christine Baranski), and dad, Hank (Peter Gallagher); Kiki's lovingly intrusive mom, Sandy (Cheryl Hines); and Carla's bon vivant/big trouble mom, Isis (Susan Sarandon). Having family for Christmas always leads to fraught situations, and with each mom and daughter struggling with lingering problems between them, the tension is ratcheted up further. What are a bunch of underrated, overburdened moms (and grandmoms!) to do but muddle through the best they can with a little sisterhood -- and a lot of booze?
Is it any good?
Maybe it's the beer and shots talking, or maybe the Christmas lights are casting a twinkly holiday glow, but this outing is a little bit sweeter than -- if just as filthy as -- the original. "Families coming together at Christmas" is, of course, one of the most done-to-death holiday-special plots of all time, but the Bad Moms Christmas cast is so charming, so compelling, that they wring some genuine emotional gold out of the clichés of trampoline dodge ball showdowns, elaborate "12 days of Christmas" holiday house-lighting schemes, and parents and children who could get along if they'd just learn to listen to each other. It certainly helps that all of the excellently cast grandmothers have sharp comic chops, most particularly Baranski, whose Ruth is so imperious that her husband irons her satin pajamas at night. (Hines' hilariously co-dependent Sandy is a close second). So the mom-daughter Special Moments never get too schmoopy; sensitive viewers may even find themselves shedding a tear or two.
And yes, of course, there are a whole bunch of Christmas-mayhem set pieces, most particularly a scene in which our mom-heroes vow to take back Christmas -- which turns out to mean guzzling liquor in a mall food court, dirty dancing with a game Santa, and ripping off a Christmas tree from a Foot Locker. A scene in which Carla undertakes a personal waxing job for an exotic dancer is another highlight, with her client tenderly expressing how much he'd like a date with her just before he asks whether she'd like him to part his butt cheeks for her so she can wax more thoroughly. No, the movie doesn't go anywhere you couldn't have predicted from the beginning, but it's fun, and funny, too -- particularly for viewers who know exactly what it's like to be overworked and underappreciated.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie depict the challenges of motherhood and the weight that it places on women's shoulders? Does it dispel myths about motherhood or reinforce them? Does the movie realistically portray what it's like to be a mom to grown children who have kids of their own? Teens: Does seeing this make you feel any differently about your own mom or parents?
Divorce is a big theme in the movie. How does it handle the subject and its impact on children? Does divorce have an effect on the way families celebrate holidays, as the movie shows?
How are men and fathers portrayed in this movie? Are they multidimensional or one-note? Sympathetic or unsympathetic? Is the way that men are characterized different in this movie, compared to the original?
- In theaters: November 1, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: February 6, 2018
- Cast: Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn
- Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Holidays
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use
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