How could I not write a review without comparing both movies. They are practically the same movie, similar premise, just a different gender focus. It is November and even though Thanksgiving is a solid recognized holiday, it seems that it’s time for the Christmas movies to start rolling in. While I would like more Thanksgiving themed movies to come down the pipeline, it is what it is. Two movies, both Christmas movies, and both sequels. How did they do?
First off, I should point out that this review is coming from someone who enjoyed the first entry of both movies. Daddy’s Home received a better score of 4 ½ out of 5 while Bad Moms received 3 ½ out of 5 on my entertainment scale. This time around I actually enjoyed A Bad Moms Christmas more than Daddy’s Home 2.
Let’s talk about A Bad Moms Christmas first. The premise is pretty much the same as the first film. You get to see the ups and downs of being a mother during one of the busiest times of the year. The huge list of responsibility that usually rides on the shoulders of the Mother or women of the house to make sure everything goes right is at an all time high. Like before our three “bad” mothers, Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), decide to take back their lives and reclaim their way and relieve some of the pressure and just have fun. The difference this time around is that all three are visited by their overbearing mothers Ruth (Christine Baranski), Sandy (Cheryl Hines), and Isis, that’s right, Isis (Susan Sarandon) respectively decide to turn their homes and lives upside down during the holidays.
Let me just say that the casting of these new characters could not have been spot on. I guess to make sure we didn’t mix up any of the mothers with their daughters they are almost spitting images of each other when it comes to looks and personality without being the exact same person. I am not sure if that is common between mothers and daughters but I digress. I love the new additions in this film. All three women are hilarious and add something to the movie to justify having a sequel without rehashing the same exact movie. All of them had their strengths in the roles they were given and especially when these additional moms were having scenes together was just as entertaining. I could definitely see a spin-off in the works with those mothers together. The other standout in this film was Justin Hartley (This Is Us) who plays Ty Swindel, a handsome and very sexy Santa stripper who locks eyes with Carla seeing as she is the only mom from the original three who isn’t in a relationship. He brought his own raunchiness to the film to keep the tone of this rated R film intact. Ladies will definitely get something out of him being involved in the film.
This movie had a lot of funny moments throughout the film. All of the secondary characters including boyfriend of Amy, Jessie, played by Jay Hernandez, and all of the children had more screen time and involvement with the moms. This movie is more about family than just the moms deciding to make every bad decision in the book. Watching the chemistry between the mothers and their mothers was a nice touch also. One thing that stood out was that they were trying really hard to make sure the audience knew we were watching a Rated R movie. Lots of cursing coming from everyone, even the children, was used just for the sake of doing it. When there is too much of it, it can sound a bit desperate and cheesy. Overall, I think this was a successful follow up to the original. I laughed more, there was character development, and I walked out remembering more of what I saw vs. the first one. The film also wasn’t just all silly antics and hijinks. The movie got real in some parts and I think that women who are mothers with or without a husband can relate to this movie and sympathize with the pressure of making Christmas for your children to be the best ever or the added pressure of making sure your Mom is so proud of the daughter that she raised or in some cases, making sure they are a better mother to their kids than they received from their own mothers. This movie does have a bit of good timing as well seeing as this is the time that female lead focused movies are being made and people are actually going out to watch them. This is a solid sequel and worth the watch if you were a fan of the first. I never had doubt that a woman driven movie can bring people in the seats just as much as the men.
Which brings me to the second Christmas themed movie Daddy’s Home 2.
The men are more in the driver seat in this film with the high tension of trying to be the better father, Brad and Dusty (Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg respectively) have settled their difference and has decided to become Co-parents and work together instead of against each other and actually form a good friendship on the way. The holidays are coming and the parents have just discovered that the kids are aware of the constant back and forth between both their dad and step dad and the instability of the process unlike other families so they decide to have one Christmas all together with both families. So, the wrench thrown into this plan is that the fathers of our two leads have decided to spend Christmas with their sons. Very similar to the previous movie, you know have two Grandfathers competing for the role of best Dad and Granddad. Let the games begin.
This is another slam dunk with casting as they picked the best people to compliment the personalities of Ferrell and Wahlberg. Mel Gibson as Grandpa Kurt, the Playboy tough guy but neglectful father to Dusty. John Lithgow as Grandpa Don, the bubbly, happy, vibrant, and positive thinking father to Brad. The two of them together is literally the opposite of the father/son relationship to Dusty and Kurt. Brad and Don are really close its hilarious. So, in this film you will get to see two different types of relationships and how males deal with feelings and family but of course done in a comedic way. The kids of both families also gain focus with their own story line. Dylan, Dusty’s son, starts liking girls which gives the fathers an opportunity to perform one of the biggest father/son milestones of talking about the birds and the bees. Of course, that task as well as others pop up to challenge the new-found friendship of Brad and Dusty which again creates a lot of shenanigans.
There was a lot of physical comedy in this film. Just like the first, this movie defies the laws of gravity and bodily harm one can endure. It was like watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation amplified by 2 with the physical comedy. Most of it is funny but its also just so much of it. The chemistry between Wahlberg and Ferrell is still pretty good. If you happen to like what you saw of them in the first Daddy’s Home and The Other Guys, these gentlemen do not disappoint this go around. There is one scene that I love that gives you a clear example of what being a dad is all about. It involves adjusting the thermostat in the home. This scene is gold when the dads all talk about how sacred the thermostat setting is something you don’t mess with. It is so true on so many levels and I think everyone can relate to this scene and will find out hilarious.
With the addition of John Cena as biological father two Dusty’s step daughter being brought into the mix adds to more of the tension of the movie and Cena has been building quite the track record with his comedic acting. I enjoy his acting a lot as a funny man and he delivers in this movie. His stature would suggest he is always the tough, less talking guy who plays the macho type but with each role he shows tons of vulnerability without flaunting his muscles in our faces every chance he gets. I can’t wait to see more of him in other films.
Overall, I think this movie is a successful sequel. This movie definitely has more in the comedic category. What I have noticed with Ferrell movies is that its clearly obvious when he and the cast can just pretty much ad lib and say whatever they want and make it work for the film. I am sure most movies do this but there is no subtlety when it comes to Ferrell movies. Sometimes it can be a downfall because for the most part the jokes have a high risk of falling flat and not delivering a solid punchline and that did happen in this movie quite a bit unfortunately. Towards the last few scenes of the movie, it just reached the point of silliness by having the entire room of extras just be a part of the movie which is something that never happens in real life. It worked in the 80’s and early 90’s but now it just comes off as cheesy. Aside from that, I enjoyed the added presence of Gibson and Lithgow. I think their addition to the cast also added more flare to a similar plot as the first. This movie could have been better than what it was. I do prefer the first entry than the sequel but I did laugh out loud more than once with pt. 2. With this film being PG-13 didn’t limit the film at all. Especially for a family comedy you can get away with a PG rated film and still produce a great film. All I can say is if you enjoyed the first one then the second one will be a good one to watch when you are ready.
So, who wore it better? With the sequels as a stand-alone movie, I believe that A Bad Mom’s Christmas delivered a good movie. Being both funny and serious with relatable issues stood out more than the zany comedies the fathers brought in Daddy’s Home 2. I also think that BMC added more of a continuous sequel with a better story connecting both movies from one to the other. While both movies are very similar there were clear differences between both movies. They both have their strengths and weaknesses but both were worth the watch.
A Bad Mom’s Christmas – 4 out of 5
Daddy’s Home 2 – 3 out of 5
Thanks for reading my double review of the latest Christmas movies out this year. I am sure there will be more to come before the year’s end. In the comments, let me know what you thought of these two films. Which did you like better?