BARE BONES: A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS (2017)

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A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS (2017)

Sequel takes place at Christmas time with our three Bad Moms, Amy, Kiki and Carla (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) getting visits from their own moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon respectively). This turns their lives upside down and threatens to ruin their holidays.

Second flick is again written and directed by Scott Moore and Jon Lucas and sadly lacks the energy and buoyant fun the original was, while doubling up on the melodramatic schmaltz. The first flick was routine and predictable, but it had attitude, some cleverness and a charming cast. This holiday installment is flat, rolling out all the “Christmas in ruins” movie clich├ęs without any ingenuity and the vulgarity lacks the wit that made it work the first time around. It replays a lot of the shtick of the original movie and even with the addition of the bad grand-moms, it comes across as stale. If there is a redeeming quality, it is the cast once again shines and makes the best out of the weak material with Baranski, Hines and Sarandon playing their thinly written parts well. Veteran actresses who deserved better material, as do the Bad Moms trio, Kunis, Bell and Hahn, who also give it their all. Sequel co-stars Jay Hernandez again as Jessie, Peter Gallagher as Amy’s dad and a funny cameo by Kenny G. Maybe they should have taken a little more time developing this instead of rushing it out a mere 15 months after the first flick.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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REVIEW: ROBOT AND FRANK (2012)

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Frank Langella proves once again that he is one of the most underrated actors in the business with a great performance in this touching and whimsical story from Director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher D. Ford. This story, set in the near future, tells of retired cat burglar Frank whose slipping mental state causes concern from his kids and provokes his son to buy him a robot home assistant to take care of him. At first Frank hates his automaton companion but, then the two bond as Frank realizes he has a new partner to resume old habits. Robot is a cute and endearing indie comedy/drama that is given added weight by a wonderful performance from lead, Langella. He gives Frank multiple layers as a man who both enjoyed his life of crime yet, regrets the effect it had on his life and relationship with his kids. He also portrays the frustration of someone trying to deal with the effects of aging and trying to overcome it the only way he knows how. It helps that he is surrounded by a good cast with James Marsden as his son and Liv Tyler as his daughter. Both trying to care for a man who wasn’t there for them when growing up. Susan Sarandon is a local woman who catches Frank’s eye and Jeremy Sisto as the local sheriff who becomes very suspicious of the retired burglar when a few thefts hit the small town they live in. A charming and very entertaining movie elevated by the opportunity to see a master actor at work. Also features Peter Sarsgaard as the voice of robot. ***1/2