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There’s no cheer in ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’

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The Bad Moms go Christmas shopping.
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Two stars

A Bad Moms Christmas Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn. Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Rated R. Now playing citywide.

Like just about every comedy sequel, A Bad Moms Christmas—yes, they’re now releasing Christmas movies before we’ve even gotten around to removing the pumpkins from the front porch—offers the same attractions as its predecessor, but louder and cruder. More numerous, too.

This time, each of the three protagonists must cope not just with the usual trials and tribulations of motherhood, but also with their own equally bad moms. Amy (Mila Kunis), the most conventional of the trio, suffers a visit from Ruth (Christine Baranski), who’s turned smiling disapproval into an art form. There’s an ongoing battle of codependency between Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Sandy (Cheryl Hines). And who else but Susan Sarandon could have played Isis (really!), the wild woman who raised a foul-mouthed dynamo like Carla (Kathryn Hahn, once again outclassing the field)?

Like the original film (which came out only 16 months ago—this is quite a rush job), Christmas was written and directed by the team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who are apparently jointly convinced that there’s nothing more hilarious than people doing outrageous things in slow motion, set to a recent pop hit. In between montages, the film alternates between raunchy (including an attempt to top The 40-Year-Old Virgin by having Carla wax a stripper’s junk) and heartwarming (see: Christmas movie) with the regularity of a metronome. ’Tis the season for diminishing returns.

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