As stand-up terrorist Gallagher once said, “Comedy is a reversal.” So it makes sense that we are still living through the torture chamber of “funny [blank]” movies. In this case, we get funny women. Not women who are funny because they’re smart or interesting or have a sense of humor. These bad moms are funny because they’re made to act out absurd, raunchy or otherwise “hilarious” situations. This from the Hollywood Mensa of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of the Hangover series and the original Bad Moms.
Moms (and women) are just here to be nurturers, protectors. They keep house and make sure everything is in its right place. So it’s that reversal we’re lining up to see, right? We want them to give Santa a lap dance. We get to watch as they plow into each other like American Gladiators on trampolines. Because women would never do this! These women are bad!
I am so sick of this hellscape of studio comedies that assumes the audience is composed of hopeless dead-eyed trolls who need their already wrong assumptions of who and what human beings are and how they behave to be upended for the sake of their reptilian brains. Lucas and Moore have made a killing selling this exhausting garbage to us for the past decade, and while I have no problem with anyone liking what they like or paying to see funny actors wax each other’s genitals and knock each other’s blocks off, I want to make a distinction here.
I love Jackass. The barrage of childish, crude and sometimes downright mean-spirited comedic bluster works for me because it’s coming from the point of view of “we think this is funny because this is just who we are. We’re idiots.” It’s not for everyone, but if you can get on that wavelength, it’s no different from Chaplin getting pushed into a lake. The creative minds behind A Bad Moms Christmas would seem to be saying, “You think this is funny because you’re the idiot.” Nowhere over the course of the film does it appear that anyone on board with this project is putting their hearts into anything they’re doing. It’s just a circus. Get in the ring, get a pie in the face, collect a paycheck, go home. Yeah, they’re actors and they’re all showing up to get paid. It’s the startling level of cynicism oozing off the screen that is the problem.
Susan Sarandon wears a leather jacket and calls truckers the way some of us call cabs. Cheryl Hines is a psycho freak obsessed with her daughter (most of her clothes are patterned designs of Kristen Bell’s face). Kathryn Hahn is always looking for sex. A little girl keeps saying the F-word. And all of them need to come together to save Christmas or something. If any of that sounds funny to you, then do me a favor and write me a script that turns those jokes into something approaching characters. I think Hollywood might be accepting applications soon.