Film Review: A Bad Moms Christmas

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn
Directed by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 44 mins
STX Entertainment

Soon it will be the season for presents and mistletoe, Santa and his reindeer. And family. I always welcome the chance to see my mom over the holidays. Of course, my mother is nothing like Ruth (Christine Baranski), Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and Isis (Susan Sarandon). Thank God!

Just as funny and, even though I never thought it possible, raunchier then “Bad Moms,” “A Bad Moms Christmas” finds our heroines from the last film getting things in order in the last week before Christmas. Amy (Kunis) is now happily dating Jessie (Jay Hernandez) and is unprepared when her very wealthy and judgmental mother Ruth shows up a few days before she was expected. Same with Kiki (Bell) and her mom Sandy, a woman who has become more and more clingy since her husband died. And Carla (Hahn) never knows when to expect Isis (her mom, not the terrorist group). She only knows it’s when she needs to borrow money. ‘Tis the season!

Blame it on “Bridesmaids.” Ever since that movie came out and made almost $300 million world-wide, Hollywood has inundated moviegoers with all kinds of “women talking dirty” films. For every funny and successful film, like “Trainwreck” or “Girl’s Trip,” you also have to put up with “dirty talk for talk’s sake” in a movie like “Rough Night.” (I did give “Rough Night” a positive review but did note that a lot of it’s raunch was for shock value, not laughs).

“A Bad Moms Christmas” works mostly because of two things: the cast and the script. The film was written, and co-directed, by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who in the past have written, among other films, the first “Hangover.” They obviously know what works where funny is concerned. All six female leads, mothers and daughters, work great together and, on a personal note, a movie that features two of my three biggest Hollywood crushes, Baranski and Sarandon, has got to be enjoyable. If Judith Ivey had played Sandy I’d have given this movie five stars!

If you like to laugh, and if you like your humor extremely “R” rated, then there’s an early Christmas present waiting for you at the multiplex!

Film Review: “Bad Moms”

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn
Directed by: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 41 mins
STX Entertainment

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Right before I sat down to write this review I watched Chelsea Clinton talk about her mother, Hillary, as she prepared to accept her nomination for President of the United States. Chelsea mentioned many things about the Democratic nominee, but mostly she reminded us that Hillary is, first and foremost, a mom. I hope she’s not a bad one.

Amy (Kunis) is married to a man who works when he wants and relies on her to do everything. Kids, shopping, housework…you name it, it’s her responsibility. She also works three days a week for an idiot who doesn’t appreciate her. When Amy catches her husband in the middle of a very adult on-line relationship she tosses him out the door. She also decides to do some things for herself. Enlisting the aid of fellow overburdened moms Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Hahn), the trio turn things upside down in their small, uptight community.

It makes sense that the film is directed and written by the writers of “The Hangover” because it shares a lot of that film’s DNA. Three people, mismatched at times, decide to cut loose with alcohol and dirty talk. And while the film isn’t as consistently funny as “The Hangover,” it does feature some clever scenes and strong performances by its cast, led by Kunis, who shows not only a strong comedic talent but a slight flair for the dramatic. Bell is sweetly funny as Kiki, woman who is told by her husband that she has to watch the kids because it’s “your job.” Hahn is hoot. I loved her brief work in “Anchorman” and here she is given the opportunity to cut loose. Throw in a supporting cast that ranges from Christina Applegate to Houston Texan star J.J. Watt and you have a pretty entertaining night out.

Film Review “The Boss”

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell and Peter Dinklage
Directed by: Ben Falcone
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 39 mins
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ever since she broke out with an Oscar nominated performance in the film Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy’s film choices have been very hit or miss. She scored big in hits like The Heat and SPY. She missed terribly in Tammy, which she co-wrote with her husband, who also directed. This is their second project together and I’m happy to report it’s no Tammy 2!

When we first meet Michelle Darnell, she is a little girl living in an orphanage who is about to go home with her new family. Sadly, they return her. This happens a few times during her life until she swears that she won’t need a family to make it straight to the top.

Present day we find Michelle (McCarthy) addressing a crowd of 20,000 on her achievements, urging them to follow her lead to a life of wealth and opulence. A combination of Oprah and Susan Powter, Michelle is probably the most famous business-woman in the country, much to the chagrin of Renault (Dinklage), a business rival and former lover. A few calls later and she finds herself in prison, accused of insider trading. When she gets out, broke and destitute, she makes her way to her former assistant Claire’s (Bell) apartment and coerces her way into a place to stay.

Wanting to pull her own weight, Michelle takes Claire’s daughter, Rachel , to a local scout troop meeting and soon has the whole bunch selling brownies quicker than you can say Martha Stewart.

Very funny in certain parts, the film is a combination of McCarthy working with a great cast and a very funny script. Tammy was a collaboration between McCarthy and her husband, actor Ben Falcone. It had some funny moments but it wasn’t FUNNY. This time the couple have added long-time friend Steve Mallory to the list of writers and have found a film that is both funny and works to McCarthy’s strengths. It is a little over the top at times (and a little more “adult” than you might expect) but it’s definitely a film that will make you laugh out loud.


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