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story.lead_photo.caption The girls are back: Carla (Kathryn Hahn), Amy (Mila Kunis) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) act out for Santa (Phil Pierce) in A Bad Moms Christmas.

With A Bad Moms Christmas, it's easy to sense that writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore have tapped the keg once too often. From The Hangover and 21 & Over to Bad Moms, the duo has explored the comic potential of getting wasted.

But there are only so many times Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) can risk cirrhosis or a visit from child protective services and have it still be funny. One gimmick to keep this installment from demonstrating the law of diminishing returns is the introduction of the prime trio's mothers.

A Bad Moms Christmas

73 Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon, David Walton, Justin Hartley, Oona Laurence, Peter Gallagher, Wanda Sykes, Ariana Greenblatt, Emjay Anthony

Directors: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Rating: R, for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use

Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Amy's mom (Christine Baranski) is such a stickler for Christmas tradition that she believes Amy's home should be decorated as ornately as the Sistine Chapel when December 25 rolls around. Amy and her new beau Jesse (Jay Hernandez) simply want a quiet Christmas together with their kids. Grandma wants to go caroling to 300 houses in costume. She also assumes that Jesse is a handyman instead of Amy's beau because he's Hispanic.

Meanwhile, Kiki deals with a mother (Cheryl Hines) who is so enamored of her child that she can't leave her alone. She hides in her adult daughter's bedroom where she's practically a cheerleader for her daughter's libido.

Carla has the opposite of a helicopter mom. Her mother Isis (Susan Sarandon) seems to appear only when dealing with financial or legal problems. She also makes her rowdy daughter seem like a model of discipline. She smokes in public and doesn't see any problem with doing so even if she's enjoying a reefer instead of a cigarette.

Before the magic of the season somehow makes all three generations reconcile, Lucas and Moore struggle to fill their running time. Letting the ladies stagger through a shopping mall isn't an improvement over having them crawl through a supermarket in the first film.

Worse, there are so many familiar chains getting promoted that it feels like getting stuck on a commercial break on Hulu. Lucas and Moore also switch to lengthy montages when they run out of profane witticisms for Amy and her pals to recite. Having an 8-year-old drop an F-bomb has some shock value, but having her use it on a steady basis becomes dull quickly.

On the other hand, the grandmothers are genuinely amusing. Seeing them together is a lot more fun than watching Lucas and Moore copying and pasting material from the previous movie.

MovieStyle on 11/03/2017

Print Headline: A Bad Moms Christmas

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