‘Bad Moms’ Review: They Make Them Good Moms Go Bad
Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is a good mom. She takes care of her two kids, Jane (Oona Laurence) and Dylan (Emjay Anthony) as well as her husband Mike (David Walton). She works at a job where she is underpaid and unappreciated yet still shows up everyday in order to help provide a good life for her kids. One day, Amy is faced with a series of bad events that ultimately pushes her to the edge. Amy turns to fellow moms, Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) for support. After a night of heavy depression inspired drinking, Amy has finally decided to put herself first again for the first time in over 10 years. Feeling rejuvenated by her new found outlook on life, Amy, Carla, and Kiki make a pack to be bad moms in order to enjoy their lives again.
Its official, 2016 is the year that two female driven comedies have successfully delivered the laughs. As an added bonus, Bad Moms doesn’t involve Paul Feig or Judd Apatow so no one can say, “well it’s Apatow or Feig and he knows what he is doing.” Oddly enough, this film is written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who previously directed the atrocious 21 & Over. With their previous outing being a complete and total train-wreck, I was worried that these two guys had no idea how to write females based on how they were written in that film. Luckily enough, they turn things around with this one. I am happy to report that despite having a rather underwhelming trailer, Bad Moms delivers on the premise and the laughs.
Mila Kunis is really good as Amy because she plays it straight. You can tell early on that Amy is trying to do the best she can but still always gets the shit end of the stick. Katherine Hahn’s take on the role of Carla is hilarious even if it is one note. I do believe Carla represents an accurate portrayal of what it is like for a woman to have a kid before she is ready. I found her uncensored comments to be hilarious and loved her “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. However, while both these two ladies were great, I think Kristen Bell was by far the scene stealer. Bell’s role as Kiki is an innocent weird mom who hasn’t taken a risk in her entire life. Bell’s facial mannerisms and the way she delivered the dialogue made almost every scene she was in a little bit better just because she was apart of it. I love Bell and think she is so underrated as an actress.
Bad Moms surprisingly works for about 90% of its runtime. I found several scenes to be laugh out loud funny with a few standout moments including a supermarket montage. I found it really easy to embrace the idea of a good mom getting fed up with everything and needing some me time. The story has this wonderful message about being a mom and how its ok to mess up now and again. It really showcases the inter-workings of being a parent and how much time and energy having a family consumes. It full accepts the idea that no one is perfect no matter how hard you try and I appreciated that message because it feels like its an authentic statement about being a parent.
Interestingly enough, Bad Moms has some a few emotional moments in-between all the silly antics and jokes. There is a counseling scene between Amy and her husband Mike that I just found to be really raw and honest. Whats interesting about this scene in particular is that it starts off as silly but then suddenly becomes incredibly real. It like one of those moments that you see in a well made drama yet somehow its in this comedic tale. Another scene features an argument between Amy and Jane. I have seen Oona Laurence in several films including the overlooked indie gem, Lamb and I have to say this girl is a talented young actress. The scene between her and Kunis comes off as a genuine argument between a mother and daughter.
Considering this is a comedy and most comedies suck nowadays, I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about some of the silly subplots that go on in the film. I will mention that two of the subplots have to do with the PTA and Amy wanting to run for PTA president. I feel like the subplots were all only ok but the central concept and the three leads was the glue that held this film together.
I have only two major issues with the film but they big enough to really annoyed me. The first is the film’s ending. The entire film is spent showing how good moms can make mistakes. The entire point of the film is centered around the idea that “It’s ok to make mistakes and not be perfect” yet somehow the ending is even more perfect than a Disney Princess film. The way that everything comes together is just so unbelievable that takes away from the previous 85-90 minutes. I don’t understand why Lucas and Moore decided to go this route with the ending. I would have really loved this film if it had a more realistic ending where everything didn’t work out so incredibly perfect. They even tried to tie things together with the Carla character who unlike Kiki and Amy didn’t even change throughout the film.
My other compliant is the PTA moms played by Christina Applegate (Gwendolyne), Jada Pinkett Smith (Stacy), and Annie Mumolo (Vicky). These three characters were beyond annoying and incredibly unlikable. They were suppose to be the “Mean Girls” who control the school but were so over the top and unbearable to put it lightly. The PTA moms are the so-called villains of the story but they lacked the level of believability that the main three lead characters had. I get the whole PTA mom thing but the script just made them into cartoon characters rather than real people. I especially felt that way about Applegate’s character who was just too much to take in and went too far with her actions. These actions made the film’s already bad ending even more irritating. I don’t know why what anyone involved was thinking when the they read the ending of this script.
With all that being said, I have to admit that Bad Moms does deliver for the most part on what it sets out to do. Its a raunchy comedy that even though I think is geared towards women (obviously) still works for males as well. I think the chemistry between the three lead actresses really elevates this film from being “meh” to a pretty hilarious time at the movies. Bad Moms works best when its doing its thing and isn’t trying to apologize for it. I enjoyed this film and I am happy to report that women are funny so take that haters.
Scott “Movie Man” Menzel’s final rating for Bad Moms is a 7 out of 10.