From the directors of the BadMoms pics, Jexi dials into theaters next weekend and is hoping for a decent reception. The comedy stars Adam DeVine as a loner obsessed with his phone. When he gets an upgrade that includes Rose Byrne voicing the title character/feature, life begins to improve until the artificially intelligent being develops an obsession with him. Costars include Alexandra Shipp, Michael Pena, Justin Hartley, and Wanda Sykes.
I have a hunch Jexi will have a tough time connecting with filmgoers. As far as its effectiveness via trailer and TV spots, I’m getting a bit of a Stuber vibe. That comedy with Kumail Nanjiani stalled over the summer with just an $8.2 million opening weekend. And one could argue Nanjiani has more drawing ability than DeVine.
Considering that, I’ll say this will be lucky to reach that number and won’t do so.
Borrowing its plot themes from comedies such as Big and 13Goingon30, the Will Packer produced pic Little debuts next weekend. Regina Hall stars as an overworked tech mogul who’s transformed into a teen version of herself. That 13-year-old self is played by Marsai Martin (of TV’s “Black-ish”) and the young actress holds an executive producer credit here (making her the youngest person ever to do so). Tina Gordon directs and Issa Rae, Justin Hartley, and Rachel Dratch costar.
Mr. Packer’s previous studio efforts like GirlsTrip have turned into profitable ventures. Little hopes to bring in a sizable African-American audience and the chances of this over performing are real.
A gross in the mid to high teens is certainly feasible, but I’ll project low teens is where this ends up.
2016’s BadMoms took its concept of three frazzled matriarchs letting loose and rode that wave to high box office bucks. As far as its quality, I felt it was a rather mediocre exercise that often unsuccessfully blended raunchy with pathos. Yet moviegoers turned out so now we have ABadMomsChristmas, in which it turns out the bad moms from part 1 all have questionable ones themselves.
Our original trio is feeling the natural stress that comes from holiday planning. Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) decide to throw caution to the wind and not go crazy with the season’s headaches… other than the ones that their drunken mall trip hangovers might induce. Circumstances are altered when their mamas turn up. Christine Baranski is Amy’s control freak mom, Cheryl Hines is Kiki’s super clingy mom, and Susan Sarandon is Carla’s wild and distant mom.
The week leading to Christmas gives all three subplots time for arguments and making up, as well as Santa stripping shows and bonding over butthole waxing. That’s about as deep as we get from writer/directors Scott Moore and Jon Lucas, who are once again tasked with creating a shallow and surface level comedic dive into the female psyche.
ABadMomsChristmas doesn’t go full throttle with its cartoonish aspects and doesn’t earn the attempted sentimentality it tries toward the end. What’s left is a sequel with less laughs than the first and the bar wasn’t exactly high. Among the cast, Hines comes off the best because she’s at least convincing as she apes daughter Bell’s look and mannerisms.
It’s tough for comedy sequels to succeed because most of them aren’t planned and feel rushed to capitalize on the success of what came before. This is yet another example.