Bad Moms: Film Review
Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Clark Duke
Director: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
There's no denying that Moms have it tough.
Or so the new comedy from the writers of The Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore would have you believe.
Mining the girls behaving badly oeuvre that Bridesmaids championed and the competitive streak that soared in Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's Sisters, Bad Moms is the tale of suburban mom Amy (a relatable Kunis).
In her eyes, she struggles with being a mom of two, holding down a job and dealing with a self centred husband. But when she has the mother of all days, she decides enough is enough and cuts loose in anger at the PTA, headed up by Christina Applegate's harpy in high heels, Gwendolyn.
Bad Moms is essentially about rebelling against expectations.
With the triumvirate of Kunis' everyday over-worked mom, Kristen Bell's put-upon mother of four Kiki and Kathryn Hahn's sex-crazed, foul-mouthed Carla, it's clear the girls behaving badly motif covers all the spectrum of the mothers out there, wanting to cut loose and throw off the shackles of societal expectations.
Mining the observational side of the put-upon parents delivers some solid if unspectacular laughs in this chaotic comedy, but there's no denying that the female elements of the audience will get more out of this than the males. Though, with the casting of a younger demographic as leads, it's clear the males who are dragged along won't mind.
While Kunis has warmth, it's frustrating to note that her empowerment crumbles when she falls into a romantic sub-plot with a hunky widower and she simply becomes a doe-eyed love interest rather than a kicking-loose lady.
Hahn delivers the wide berth of belly laughs as the crazed Carla (in particular, a great supermarket sequence)- and coupled with the film's insistence on using slow mo and freeze frames to showcase the bad behaviour, she has the requisite comedic chops to carry it off. She gels well with Bell's Kiki, whose under-the-thumb meek turn inevitably goes where you'd expect it.
At its heart, Bad Moms will generate a great deal of empathy with its predictable core message of it's okay to not be a great mom and have bad days, but we just keep going, though it could be loosely condemned for not doing anything more subversive in its expectedly weak empowerment message.
It garners great cinematic truck when the ladies go brazen and it's hard to imagine there won't be a few hollers among the women in the audience during certain points.
If you're willing to overlook the inevitable sappiness (which is largely staved off until the end) and underwritten males in this piece, Bad Moms will offer a potty mouthed comedy alternative for a slight night out with comedy of recognition - but perhaps the most genuine part of the film comes with the credits, where the stars and their real-life mothers impart some pearls of wisdom from their years of growing up.
It's here the earnestness, authenticity and humour winningly combine to make you wish this were a longer side-piece to accompany Bad Moms - as it lingers longer in the memory than the film itself after the lights go up.