At one level throughout A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas, one of many mothers feedback on repeatedly giving the identical present to her son time and again as a result of he does not appear to note. He opens it in an excited frenzy and marvels at the truth that Santa has as soon as once more given him one other (learn: the identical) baseball glove. There’s an irony to that sequence, as Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s yuletide-themed sequel very a lot repackages what labored within the authentic. That stated, the movie retains the laughs coming at a brisk tempo, so it is onerous to not sit there and take it in with a dumb smile in your face.
Selecting up a number of months after the occasions of the primary Unhealthy Mothers, we discover Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn), and Kiki (Kristen Bell) all coming to an abrupt realization about Christmas: they need nothing to do with it this yr. Nevertheless, their quest to take the tense vacation again for mothers is abruptly minimize quick when Amy’s mother (Christine Baranski), Carla’s mother (Susan Sarandon), and Kiki’s mother (Cheryl Hines) all present up on their respective daughters’ doorsteps for the vacations. Because the stress of the vacation begins to mount, formalities quickly begin to soften away as the women of Unhealthy Mothers are pressured to deal with the strain imposed by their very own dangerous mothers.
From the second A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas begins, it is clear that it has no intention of reinventing the wheel. Should you loved the unique Unhealthy Mothers, and also you’re seeking to spend extra time with these characters in a extra festive setting, then A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas will possible be just right for you. It performs to many of the identical beats as the primary movie, and whereas it by no means delves into The Hangover Half II realm by way of retreading outdated materials, it is also clear that the movie is not attempting to win over a model new fanbase.
So, A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas positively does not win factors for originality, as it’s clear that a lot of the framework of the plot has been cribbed from vacation classics like Nationwide Lampoon’s Christmas Trip, Jingle All of the Method, and A Christmas Story. In reality, the story itself is generally a recycled and repurposed framework of predictable tentpole moments crammed in with a collection of pointless (however predominately entertaining) hijinks that construct to a (largely earned) emotional catharsis. After all, a film like that is extra about character moments than uncooked narrative, so it is actually all about how Amy, Carla, and Kiki spend their time collectively.
That’s essential to notice as a result of even on the movie’s comparatively lean one hour and forty-four-minute runtime, it nonetheless appears like fairly a little bit of A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas might’ve been trimmed. The film is simply too lengthy, and far of that has to do with a collection of bits (to not point out a number of montages) that go on far longer than crucial. That is yet one more a type of R-rated comedies in which you’ll inform that the filmmakers received numerous proficient improvisers in a room collectively and allow them to riff. It is actually humorous, however there’s virtually an excessive amount of materials in place to inform a streamlined story.
With that in thoughts, from a purely comedic standpoint, the strongest aspect of this film is Kathryn Hahn’s Carla. Whether or not she is drunkenly charging via a crowded shopping center in a quest to defy conference and have enjoyable in the course of the vacation season, or flirting with the impossibly engaging Ty Swindell (Justin Hartley) throughout a waxing session, Hahn can oscillate between purely manic vitality and quiet, deadpan supply within the blink of a watch. Couple that with the truth that she will be able to ship some somber moments as a single mother attempting to maintain her head above water, and it turns into genuinely astonishing to assume that Hahn has not headlined many mainstream comedies on her personal.
With that stated, the introduction of the brand new mothers is a typically efficient set-up that would arguably give the Unhealthy Mothers model elevated longevity for years to come back. By design, every of the brand new mothers appears like an extension of the youthful heroine (Baranski is a chilly, type-A management freak; Sarandon is an unreliable, nomadic rocker; and Hines is perpetually candy and fully co-dependent) with out feeling like direct carbon copies. From a casting perspective, it’s extremely profitable, as every of those actresses appears ideally suited to that specific archetype. Nevertheless, whereas they do get some stable laughs in most of their scenes, the movie additionally has some bother balancing an ensemble of leads that is twice as massive because the final movie’s.
This drawback is exacerbated by the truth that the brand new dangerous mothers don’t spend a lot time on-screen collectively for the majority of the movie. The battle between Amy and her mother is the core of the film, but it surely typically appears like there are three distinct half-hour episodes of Christmas-themed tv taking part in out concurrently, and the feminine leads from every of those collection periodically get collectively for drinks to debate what’s been occurring at their respective homes. That lack of cohesion can typically bathroom A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas down, but it surely clearly will not be sufficient to kill the movie for those who’re already in love with these characters.
Whereas not nice, A Unhealthy Mothers Christmas is an above-average comedy sequel/ heartfelt Christmas story stored afloat the appeal of the returning leads and their household dynamics. It is undeniably one of many extra enjoyable raunchy comedies of the previous couple of years (notably one of many extra enjoyable Christmas-themed raunchy comedies), however just like the mothers who populate this ever-expanding universe, it is from excellent, and never attempting to be.