By Angie Raphael
The trio of under-appreciated mums are back and this time they are each dealing with their own mothers visiting for Christmas. Amy (Mila Kunis) is happy and in love with Jessie (Jay Hernandez), but her strict and fussy mother (Christine Baranksi) threatens to ruin Christmas with her very particular set of standards. Meanwhile, Kiki (Kristen Bell) is confronted by her widowed mother (Cheryl Hines), who has nothing better to do than obsess over her daughter, and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) is faced with her wild mum (Susan Sarandon), who is more likely to run off with Carla's money than provide any sage motherly advice. The chemistry between each paired mum and daughter is great but there is not quite enough character development. Amy's father, played by Peter Gallagher, also seemed to be missing in scenes where he surely should have been present. Baranski was definitely the most valuable player in the cast. Justin Hartley was also an excellent addition, playing a sexy stripper with some hilarious and fun moments, especially during a memorable waxing scene. Hernandez, who was so great in the first film, was underused in the sequel. Co-writers/co-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore provide some jokes that are so unique and brilliant, including one fight scene with references to the Titanic and the moon. But other gags, like a child swearing, feel repetitive and stale. There are a couple of emotional moments when the characters discuss motherhood, but perhaps with a female touch to the script those scenes might have been even more effective. The cast appear to have had a ball making this sequel, but it lacks the extent of enjoyment audiences experienced watching the original.