• by Wes Singleton

A Bad Moms Christmas, C

Rated R, 104 minutes

The bawdy, guilty-pleasure 2016 hit comedy "Bad Moms" is back even looser and bawdier in the sequel "A Bad Moms Christmas." Uneven and certainly nothing new: it takes plenty of cues from other female-driven, raunchy comedies like "Bridesmaids" though there are a handful of lively moments that'll keep it from being a blue Christmas.

Under-appreciated and overburdened moms Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for Moms: Christmas. As if creating the perfect holiday for their families isn't hard enough, they'll have to do it while hosting and entertaining their own respective mothers (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) when they come to visit.

Directed by "The Hangover" writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and directors of the first "Bad Moms" film, this is essentially a domesticated, female version of "Hangover," filled with many dirty, laugh-out moments through an episodic, scattered plot that seems too easy of a set-up. All the cast is game and charming, though one in particular again steals the show as she did in the 2016 hit.

Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are decent, but they seem to be foils for the scene-stealer that is the delightful Kathryn Hahn, who stole the first film and who steals this one too. She has the best scenes and most of the best lines (Kunis can only manage a handful of "what the f's"), many of which can't be repeated here, but she gives the term bawdy new meaning when she falls in love with an exotic dancer ("This Is Us's" Justin Hartley) after she waxes his privates.

Of the Mom's, "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" Cheryl Hines is solid as Kiki's creepy Mom and Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon is fun as Carla's trash-talking, pot-smoking Mom, but it's Christine Baranski, who seems born to play Amy's uptight, overly critical mother. She commands all of her scenes with comic force ("oh, you let your children make the treats" she says of her daughter's cooking) that upstages the bland Kunis.

You have a sense of where "A Bad Moms Christmas" is going before it gets there, with the messages about the importance of family and the season, and it seems so contrived to have all of the ladies end up in a church cussing at each other near the end. Still, the cast works really hard to make sure you laugh, and while it's hit or miss (the Wanda Sykes cameo is especially memorable), there's enough laughs to keep the egg nog flowing.

A notch above forgettable yet far from being a Christmas classic, "A Bad Moms Christmas" is kinda like fruitcake: many will not admit to liking it, even if they secretly do. This one isn't as funny or novel as the first film and not the ultimate guilty pleasure you expect it to be.

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