Bad Moms (2016)

badmoms_2016_poster
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
  • Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Kathryn Hahn

Storyline:

A woman with a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, overachieving kids, beautiful home, stunning looks and still holding down a career. However she’s over-worked, over committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms and all go on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities, going on a wild un-mom like binge of freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.

3 reviews

  • Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is overstressed, overworked, overly concerned with doing it all and being perfect, and overdue for a breakdown or, if seen from another angle, an epiphany.

    Amy is 32, lives in Chicago, has two kids (Oona Laurence and Emjay Anthony) and a husband (David Walton) who may as well be a third child. She’s the one running around getting breakfast for the kids, dropping them off at school, going into work at a hipster startup company where she races from meeting to meeting to meeting, picking up the kids, driving them to whatever after-school activities they’ve signed up for, scuttling back to school to attend plays or PTA meetings, and then arriving back home just to get dinner on the table. Bad Moms carries audiences along in Amy’s daily whirlwind; by the end of that opening sequence, we’re just as exhausted as she is.

    If Amy has any time to herself, it’s to bawl her eyes out in her car over what a bad mom she is. She’s far from being what she thinks she is – if anything, she’s so hands-on and accommodating both at home and at work that she’s essentially turned herself into an indentured servant by overindulging those around her. So it’s all too inevitable that she reaches her breaking point during one 24 hour period that begins when she discovers her husband has been having an online affair for the past ten months and ends when she once again finds herself in the crosshairs of the passive-aggressive perfectionist Stepford Mom that is Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). Refusing to kowtow to any more of Gwendolyn’s demands, Amy quits the PTA and decides to do away with her daily drudgery and indulge in some very bad behaviour (which is still relatively tame despite the film’s R-rating).

    Kunis has always been an appealing performer, but the truth of the matter is that Amy is not that interesting a character. Too much of the film’s focus is tipped in her favour and not enough attention is paid to either Kristen Bell and particularly Kathryn Hahn. The former plays stay-at-home mom of four Kiki, who harbours a multitude of dark thoughts beneath her pert and polite exterior. The latter is divorced single mom Carla, the film’s raging and anarchic id who encourages Amy and Kiki to let loose and embrace their inner crazy. Hahn pretty much torpedoes everyone off the screen and shows no mercy to the viewers as she delivers one funny line after another. “I’d rather go to Afghanistan than another kid’s baseball game,” she matter-of-factly declares of supporting her son’s sport of choice. To the latest weirdness uttered by Kiki: “I feel like everything that comes out of your mouth is a cry for help.” “Are you trying to get laid or adopted?” she cracks at the sight of Amy’s woeful wardrobe choices as she prepares for a girls’ night out. “That bra will be the death of your vagina,” Kiki adds as she and Carla poke and prod at Amy’s so-called sexy bra.

    That scene is a lot of laughs, though Bell underwent similar barbs from Melissa McCarthy earlier this year in The Boss, which is more than thematically adjacent to this film as are Mean Girls and Sisters to a lesser degree. That sense of déjà vu dampens the fun; so does the perpetual use of slow motion during scenes where the moms are drinking, partying, or leaving a wake of destruction during their rampage at their local supermarket. Once or twice is fine, but to deploy it every single time smacks of a lack of imagination from writers-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who are known for penning the Hangover films. The duo do well in piling on the raunch whilst still finding moments of truth in moms who act out as a means of preserving their sanity. These are women whose fantasies revolve around having alone time away from their daily drudgery – a quiet breakfast “by myself” is Amy’s ideal whilst Kiki wouldn’t mind being in a car accident and laid up in the hospital for a couple of weeks to have some peace and quiet.

    Bad Moms has many an occasional stumble, not least of which is pitting the so-called bad moms against Gwendolyn and her court. If anything, having Gwendolyn as the lead character would have been more intriguing. This is not a patch on Kunis, but the breaking down of Gwendolyn would have reaped far more laughs and made the bad behaviour all the more outrageous. Nevertheless, this is a film that has its heart in the right place and will both endear and entertain thanks to Kunis, Bell, Hahn, and Applegate.

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  • In Bad Moms (my latest review), Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, and Christina Applegate are perfectly realized as characters. Hahn is a comic force of nature playing single mom Carla. She is for lack of a better word, a promiscuous potty mouth (not to mention the definition of a female Rob Corddry). Bell is spot-on as Kiki, a dorky, socially inept mother of four. Finally, Applegate is pure evil as Gwendolyn, the antagonistic head master of the PTA (you know, the parent-teacher association).

    Anyway, “Moms” feeling like Bridesmaids meets 1999’s Office Space, is the most surprising release of 2016. It starts off as a family comedy only to descend into massive F-bombs, fierce sexual innuendo, conversations about circumcision, and a reference to Fifty Shades of Grey. Translation: It’s funny as heck. Yeah it’s an R-rated vehicle that takes place in a middle school. Yeah it has child actors in many a frame. And yes, it deals with uncomfortable themes of midlife crisis parenting. No matter. Bad Moms combines the sweet, the moral, and the raunchy all in one fell swoop. “Mother did it need to be so (pause) high?” Natch.

    Now in normal fashion, I viewed its clichéd trailer recently on YouTube with some of the comments almost making sense (one YouTube viewer actually predicted that it would be quote unquote, “complete trash”). Boy was I wrong after attending a midday screening. “Moms” tries to provide you with a hearty laugh in almost every scene. It succeeds about 90% of the time so no complaints here.

    Taking place in Chicago for the umpteenth time (what movie doesn’t take place in the “Windy City” these days), containing a feel-good ending, and featuring a left field cameo by Martha Stewart (she makes everyone jello shots with vodka, nice), Bad Moms chronicles young and exhausted mother, Amy Mitchell (played by Mila Kunis). Amy has two kids and takes care of them like no one’s business. She cooks, cleans, and even works at a coffee company while her husband sits on his butt doing nothing (I guess he has a job but said job doesn’t entail too much). Ticked off and fed up, Amy has a meltdown at a PTA meeting and quits to the chagrin of Applegate’s Gwendolyn (as mentioned earlier). She then decides to get drunk, have some me time, and join forces with two other moms (Hahn and Bell) in her vicarious plight. They go to the movies during the day, throw a party to get all the other PTA moms on their side, and trash a supermarket without so much as getting arrested. Watch for a sequence where Amy steals her hubby’s red Muscle Car and drives like a maniac. Also, look for the reclusive Wanda Sykes in a small role as a jiving marriage counselor to Ames and her worse half (Mike Mitchell played by David Walton).

    Bottom line: If you’re a working mother or a stay-at-home mom, you’ll find this flick quite amusing. You might identify with it or you might not. Either way, Bad Moms with its foul-mouthed dialogue and its ode to most things unladylike, is a “good” movie. Ha-ha get it. Rating: 3 stars.

    Of note: During the closing credits for “Moms”, we get to see interviews with the stars of the film (Kunis, Hahn, Bell, Applegate, Smith, Annie Mumolo) plus their real-life mothers. Yeah it’s kinda weird to view this at the end of something that’s equal parts filthy and coarse. Oh well. Like everything else in Bad Moms, it just seems to work. Oh and by the way, these actresses look almost identical to their parental units (especially with regards to Kathryn Hahn).

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

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  • Bad Moms is good? It’s good to be a bad mom? Yep, that’s the message of the movie. And that’s probably the best thing about the writing – Lucas and Moore’s script is an absolute shambles. They clearly went on “movie-title-generator.com”, churned out “Bad Moms” and wrote their usual drivel in the same vein as their Hangover trilogy. Every other word begins with F, and as usual, it’s entirely unfunny – they don’t seem to realise swearing is only funny when used sporadically for emphasis.

    Moving on to the characters – pretty much every one is a moron, which again the writers think is hilarious, but again is only effective sporadically. The only person that shows any aspect of likability is, as always, Mila Kunis, whose honesty and integrity is the only substantial thing in the entire movie. Hahn, Bell, Applegate, Pinkett Smith and Mumolo pretty much destroy every line they speak and every scene they’re in with their inconceivably one-dimensional and shallow characters.

    The main issue with Bad Moms (except for Kunis), is that it’s totally unrealistic, unbelievable and unengaging. It’s just a dumb fantasy which they think is hilarious, but at times is actually painful to watch. The character interactions, the inconsistency in motivations, the way everything resolves neatly, it’s all so amateur and excruciating. The brief moment of emotion when Kunis finds herself alone towards the end has more quality than the rest of the movie put together. For a comedy, smirking once isn’t enough.

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