MOVIE REVIEW: Bad Moms 2 adds naughty nannas to the mix
First things first - Bad Moms 2 is a Christmas movie.
An American Christmas movie, it should be emphasised. You know, with all the trimmings and baubles : snow, carols sung by door-to-door choirs, and people shopping and going to church in three layers of clothes. The works.
Here in Australia, it is the first week in November and summer is nigh, for crying out loud.
With more than 50 shopping days still left until Santa and his reindeers drop from the sky, this is way, way, wayyyyyyy too early for such festive cheer.
As for the Bad Moms franchise itself, a quick check of last year's calendar reveals the first movie (a very profitable smash hit around the world) was only released 15 months ago.
So surely it is way, way, wayyyyyyy too soon for another ransacking of our box-office pockets?
Not quite. Somewhat surprisingly, this swiftly assembled sequel earns its keep as a crowd-pleasing comedy for two telling reasons.
Most importantly of all, Bad Moms 2's hit-to-miss joke ratio is moderately high.
When the big laughs do come, they arrive with gusto (having caught this movie with a packed house of punters, there's no denying the movie's ability to magnetise mirth.)
Almost as tellingly, Bad Moms 2 refreshes the proven formula of the original by doubling the number of misbehaving mothers in play.
This time around, the foundation trio of Bad Moms - Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) - must go head-to-head with their own bad mothers.
As it is indeed Christmas, a period which brings the worst out of most families, Amy's control-freak mom Ruth (Christine Baranski), Kiki's clingy mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) and Carla's trailer-trash mom Isis (Susan Sarandon) will be doing their best to ruin this hallowed holiday for all.
It must be said that in terms of effective screen chemistry, the combined casting of these six women is a winning card Bad Moms 2 can play with confidence repeatedly.
Each performer brings something endearing to the mix, a blessing in the second half of the movie, where sluggish pacing means it goes close to outstaying its welcome.
As was the case in the first film, Hahn's earthy, tearaway stylings are the standout here - a romantic sub-plot which pairs her with an unusually gifted male stripper (Justin Hartley) went down a storm with the preview audience - while the amusingly stony-faced Baranski is the best of the new recruits.
BAD MOMS 2 (MA15+)
Rating: two and a half stars (2.5 out of 5)
Directors : Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon, Justin Hartley.
Just as funny, with twice the not-so-nice
Bad Moms 2 is in cinemas now.