BAD MOMS 2, US, 2017. Starring Mila Kunis, Kristin Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Cheryl Hines, Christine Barabski, Susan Sarandon, Justin Hartley, Peter Gallagher, Wanda Sykes, Cade Mansfield Cooksey. Directed by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore. 104 minutes. Rated MA (Strong crude and sexual humour).
A year earlier, Bad Moms seems to have touched the funnybone of the wide audience, characters, oddball situations, plenty of vulgar touches, but quite funny in its way. It was obviously popular because, within a year, here is a sequel.
Once again, this one seems to touch the funnybone, the characters, even more oddball situations, and, of course, plenty of vulgar touches. But, again, quite funny in its way and destined to be very popular. It would not be surprising to see the Bad Moms in the future – though Bad Dads is promised.
The same team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (amongst others, the three Hangover films) are responsible. In the three moms, they created three quite different characters, Mila Kunis as Amy is in the centre, exasperated at home, divorce, bringing up the children, and fond of a friendly neighbour, Jay Hernandez, who has a daughter. Then there is Kiki, Kristin Bell, a nice, more simple mother, loving her children and her devoted husband, wary of letting her hair down. On the other hand, there is the brash and boisterous Carla, Kathryn Hahn, blunt in manner and language, not afraid of a drink, daring the other mothers to come out of themselves. And they did.
So, what are the filmmakers to do for a seque?. They had a very bright idea: introduce the mothers of the moms. And they employed a very good cast to portray these dominant and intruding (well not all of them) mothers.
Each of the mothers has very a strongly delineated character and we welcome their appearances. To that extent, they steal the show.
And who are they? Even dominating the dominating mothers is Christine Baranksi as Amy’s mother. She can steal any film or television show in which she appears. She is Ruth who behaves ruthlessly. A formidable presence, dragging along her dominated but genial husband, Peter Gallagher, taking over the house, taking over Christmas – but, we look forward to her humiliation; but, we hope, something of a conversion. On the other hand, there is Cheryl Hines as Kiki’s emotionally dominating mother, utlrasweet, insinuating herself into every aspect of her best friend/daughter’s life – with an amusing therapist sequence with Wanda Sykes. We look forward to her process of unclinging.
As might be expected, Carla’s mother is the opposite, an absent mother, a gambler, often stoned, but making an impression because she is played by Susan Sarandon. We look forward to seeing whether she can settle down.
It is Christmas – and Jesus himself might be well-exasperated at the pressures of all aspects of commercialised Christmas and expectations (though there is scene at Midnight Mass and Kiki’s mother does mention that it is Jesus’ birth). We share with the mums and moms together in crisis over the five days to Christmas, Ruth organising everyone, the three mothers sharing a drink to escape and entangling with Santa Claus, as well as some Santa Claus strippers, one of whom, Ty (Justin Hartley), a fairly simple soul, who sees into the depths of Carla.
Mess, mayhem, exasperated swearing, jokes about sex and marriage, a bit of female ogling, but somehow or other it comes together much better than we might have anticipated.
Roadshow Released November 2nd
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.