Bad and good moms and maybe even their husbands will get a load of laughs from the blissfully politically incorrect summer comedy Bad Moms. The title doesn’t really describe who these hardworking but frustrated women really are, but is designed to lure an audience with the promise of some good old-fashioned raunch. As I say in my video review above, we get that — and then some — but also a surprising amount of heart and tender moments that underline the fact this is really a movie about good moms who are teetering on the edge.
Amy (Mila Kunis) has two kids, a slacker husband (David Walton), a thankless job with a not-very-sympathetic millennial nerd for a boss, and a life she is desperately trying to control. When she catches her husband in an online affair, things start to go awry. Into her life comes Kiki (Kristen Bell), another overworked mom with four kids and a husband who doesn’t do his fair share. Kiki suffers from low self-esteem, so it is good that this pair comes under the eye of Carla Dunkler (Kathryn Hahn), a foul-mouthed, divorced mother of a clueless young jock who might be the definition of a “bad mom,” judging from her language and advice, but really is just a life force determined to show these ladies there is more to life than being at the beck and call of their kids.
So they set off on their own little adventures including a drinking binge, a rambunctious visit to a grocery store, a wild party and more — much to the chagrin of their families. They also butt heads with PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her prim-and-proper colleagues Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo). When Gwendolyn makes life miserable for Amy’s daughter, it’s a step too far, and Amy becomes drawn into an escalating rivalry. There’s also handsome, too-good-to-be-true Jesse (Jay Hernandez), who shows interest in Amy as her marriage is crumbling, but this flick is all about the women.
Hahn steals the show with a full-bodied and absolutely hilarious comic performance eclipsing all of the film work she has done to date (she’s very fine in a lower key in the excellent Captain Fantastic). Bell is completely relatable to the target audience of tired moms everywhere, and Kunis nails the lead role of a woman in over her head and trying to resurface. Applegate, as the perfect Gwendolyn, is great casting too.
The beauty of this film from writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore is that it is broad and silly at times but never over the top and always grounded in characters we genuinely understand and care about. The pair wrote The Hangover, and though they have transferred some of their raunchiest tendencies to these women, they have also added heart and soul and tender loving care. This isn’t exactly a movie hardcore feminists will embrace, but it doesn’t intend to ultimately pigeonhole, insult or stereotype women. It’s all very recognizably human and good fun. The end-credit sequence cutting between conversations with the stars and their own real mothers is an inspired touch.
This film is a solid hit if moms can take a couple of hours off and leave the kids at home — this is definitely R-rated stuff. Producers are Bill Block and Suzanne Todd. STX Entertainment releases Bad Moms on Friday as perfect alternative summertime programming.
Do you plan to see Bad Moms? Let us know what you think.