Sunday, February 18, 2018


Welcome to another installment of SIDE BY SIDE, where we dissect the differences and similarities between two films, be it a remake/reboot with its original, a sequel with its original, or two similar movies. This week we will be comparing two 2017 holiday sequels, A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS and DADDY'S HOME 2.  Enjoy!

Last November was the season for Christmas-themed comedy sequels as both Bad Moms and Daddy’s Home managed to garner follow ups in a similar vein to one another.  Tell me what movie I’m describing:  Our main characters are getting ready for a joyous Christmas with their families, when – surprise, surprise – their parents decide to show up and throw everything into an upheaval. 

Now, yes, that is a pretty simplistic synopsis, but these two films do share that same basic premise.  But it’s not the premise that makes the movie, it’s the execution, and these two films are drastically different in terms of execution.  And this is why I’m glad I decided to do a double feature of these two, as seeing them back-to-back really highlighted the differences, good and bad.

I’m going to start by talking about A Bad Moms Christmas.  Bad Moms was one of my favorite comedies from 2016.  It was a surprisingly good film, with a fantastic cast and some great laughs.  And after the film ended, I instantly wanted to spend more time with these characters, so when I heard that they were fast tracking a sequel for the following year, I was elated.  In the sequel, the moms are getting ready for Christmas, when, for various reasons, all of their mothers decide to visit for the holidays.  Amy’s mom is an overbearing, control freak who thinks everything her daughter is doing is wrong.  Kiki’s mom is a naïve, overly sensitive widow who has developed an almost unhealthy attachment to her daughter, and Carla’s mom is barely a parent, a bohemian vagrant of sorts, who hasn’t seen her daughter in three years, and only comes by when she needs something.

The thing I love about these films is the fantastic chemistry between the main three moms, played by Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn.  Their friendship and the energy between all the actresses is palpable, which is what makes it so believable.  It’s character relationships like this that make you want to really spend more time in these worlds.  They don’t miss a beat, and that’s why I’m glad they were able to come back for another story, one that I enjoyed almost as much as the first.

I can’t, however, say the same for Daddy’s Home 2.  The first film, which came out during Christmas of 2015, was one that I remember enjoying upon first watch.  But before going to see the sequel, I watched it again, and I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as before.  There were times that I felt awkward watching the humor take shape, and I finally understand what people meant when they said it seemed “too mean spirited”.  Daddy’s Home 2 takes that feeling and kicks it up to an, sometimes, uncomfortable level.  Even Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, both of whom I like, and enjoyed together in The Other Guys, couldn’t make this sequel work.  And after seeing how well the Bad Moms sequel succeeded, it makes it abundantly clear that Daddy’s Home 2 was a huge misstep and should signal the end for this franchise.

Christmas films are rarely the ones that stand the test of time, and for one of these films, that will definitely hold true.  The Daddy’s Home films will wash away with the tide, to be forgotten amongst the pantheon of subpar holiday movies.  But A Bad Moms Christmas is one that I will absolutely revisit time and time again, and I sincerely hope we get one more crazy adventure with these women, for what I hope will be a stellar comedic trilogy for the ages.


A Bad Moms Christmas - 8/10
Daddy’s Home 2 - 5.5/10

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