BAD MOMS 2 (R16, 104MINS) DI­RECTED BY JON LU­CAS AND SCOTT MOORE

The Bay Chronicle - - MONEY -

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

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 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),

Justin Hart­ley all but steals the show as a male ex­otic dancer.

How­ever, the true star is

Baran­ski, own­ing ev­ery scene as ev­ery daugh­ter’s worst night­mare. -

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