Senior Moms steal the spotlight
BAD MOMS 2 (R16, 104MINS) DIRECTED BY JON LUCAS AND SCOTT MOORE
For me, the best part of the hit 2016 original wasn’t Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn’s characters behaving badly, but rather the end-credit sequence where the actresses introduced their real-life Moms.
It offered some fascinating, heartfelt and extremely funny intergenerational insights into parenthood and was an off-the-cuff treat compared to Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s preceding overworked, under-cooked farce.
Well, the good news is the writer-director duo clearly learned from that experience, because the key to the success of this superior sequel is the introduction of Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell) and Cheryl’s (Hahn) maters (an idea clearly being ‘‘borrowed and adapted’’ by the makers of the more maleorientated upcoming comedy Daddy’s Home 2).
While they are somewhat archetypal, Christine Baranski’s Ruth (Amy’s controlling Mom), Cheryl Hines’ Sandy (Kiki’s clingy Mom) and Susan Sarandon’s Isis (Hahn’s feckless Mom) nevertheless get all the best lines and deliver plenty of hearty laughs.
But, if as a tale of mothers and daughters Bad Moms 2 is aces, as a Christmas comedy... well, it’s a Christmas comedy.
In 2017, that means 90 minutes of staunch and raunch is almost overwhelmed by 10 minutes of schmaltz as truths are finally told and fences subsequently mended.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around our intrepid trio having to deal with ‘‘that time of the year’’, with the added stress of pleasing/ placating/paying off the woman who gave birth to them.
Naturally things go awry and Santa’s big day/Jesus’ birthday looks set to be cancelled for the year.
But as you and I well know by now, this is less about the story and more about how outrageous our gals can get in their quest to ‘‘put the ass back in Christmas’’ (getting drunk in the local mall’s foodcourt, stealing a Christmas tree from Lady Footlocker), the extent to which slo-mo and montages can be used to comedic effect (especially while visiting a trampoline park) and reminding audiences of some of the garish excesses of the festive season.
This makes for sporadically hilarious viewing.
And while not all of the cameos work (Wanda Sykes’ therapist disappoints while what the ‘‘Godfather of smooth jazz’’ does with his sax cannot be unseen), This is Us’ Justin Hartley all but steals the show as a male exotic dancer.
However, the true star is The Good Wife’s Baranski, owning every scene as every daughter’s worst nightmare. - James Croot
Christine Baranski’s manipulative Ruth is one of the highlights of Bad Moms 2.