Um… SISTERS, anyone? I mean, doesn’t the aesthetic of this movie feel eerily similar to it? Older women desperate to get wild and crazy throw a wild party in their house where havoc ensues. They even used the same fucking song in the trailer [Hey Mama by David Guetto]. I know it’s probably nowhere near the same thing, but… jesus, if the trailer isn’t going to try and be original, why should I possibly believe the movie is anything original?
So the film’s co-directed and co-written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, whom worked together in the same capacity on THE HANGOVER (2009). Not my favorite movie, but I’m sure by sticking their work on the trailers will have it make bank enough. The inclusion of Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell almost guarantees it. I wish I could say the star power will make it worthwhile, and maybe it will, but star power doesn’t always translate to a great movie… in fact, it never does. Good acting is supposed to complement good writing and directing. Great actors may be able to save an otherwise poor script but radiating charisma and effort, but that would only save it from being bad, not make it good. And that’s what I believe this film will be at best. Lame, cliché story that will be saved by the efforts of the cast.
Am I right? Are these moms just plain bad, or are they bad to the bone? This is my honest opinion of BAD MOMS.
The story follows Amy (Mila Kunis). She’s a mom to two kids, constantly rushing to get them fed and to school, rushes to work for a job ran by twenty-somethings that show her very little respect, and partakes in PTA’s at school, also always late for, and comes home to her husband Mike (David Walton) that isn’t very helpful around the house. Summed up, she’s doing too much for too little. But everything gets worse when Amy catches Mike cheating on her with a girl over a webcam. Mike’s kicked out of the house and Amy is forced to do even more, which only adds to her stress. To top it all off, the president of the PTA meetings, a judgmental and controlling woman named Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), pushes Amy to her limits by trying to force her to make ridiculously specific snacks for a bake sale for the school. Amy quits and along with fellow stressed out moms Carla (Kathryn Hahn), the slutty and raunchy mom, and Kiki (Kristen Bell), the incredibly reserved mom who tries to not show her stress, and decide to just be bad moms.
*struggles to put my foot in my mouth, but both lack of flexibility and gross-out prevents me from doing so*
Jesus, was I wrong yet again. I hate being wrong, guys! Damn you, bad trailers! Bottom-lined, I like this movie.
I think it’s pretty undeniable that Kunis is a good actress, and has some solid work under her belt, like FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and TED. But she’s got some noticeable stains on her career as well, like, JUPITER ASCENDING (not her fault she sucked in it; it’s a not well-written) and OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (which she wasn’t bad in, but was horribly miscast). Here, she’s really good. She has wonderful chemistry with the kids, and I really do believe that she is stressed out. She delivers a solid and funny performance. I would have to say that passive-aggressive sarcasm is her strong suit. It just oozes with ass-kicking sass.
Bell sort of just blends into the background, sadly. She’s not bad by any means, in fact, she is quite amusing being the one in the group that’s trying too hard to be a bad mom, rather than naturally unleashing the inner beast that Amy dreamt about being and Carla adopted awhile ago. But the absolute scene-stealer is Hahn as Carla. I don’t know how, but she made this movie for me. As cliché as her character is, Hahn does amazing things with the role. Like I said in my summary, she’s this really sultry single mom. Raunchy, swears like it’s her fetish, think on the lines of every bad Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson role. Except, if either of those women had the role of Carla, I’d be more annoyed with the performance than anything else in the movie. Yet in Hahn’s hands, she’s delivering every line with pitch perfect comedic timing that had me slapping my knees every time she was on screen. On the surface, Carla is an abrasive and too honest of a woman, but even that honesty translates to, yes, a harsh, but still a 100 percent loving mother. I like to think she’s also that reflection of those kinds of moms that have kids that are into things that their parents really don’t give a shit about. You know, like Pokémon back when I was a kid. In this case, Carla’s son really loves baseball, but she really doesn’t care about baseball, yet she understands what it means to her son. Her character arch is small, but it’s still heart-warming in its own way.
I think what a lot of people should know before going in to this movie is that it is one of those comedies. The kind that no person ever goes through such dramatic events in their lives: wake up late, scramble to feed the kids, rush to school, be late for work, be late for PTAs, be late for this and that with absolutely no help from the husband who only contributes to the stress, yeah, this movie is clearly setting itself up to be the penultimate delusion that mothers are this overworked. Look, I know parents work hard, juggling one thing with another and it’s an exhausting experience that repeats every day for years. No child will ever truly know the extent of it until they become parents as well, I get this, but… no parent would ever let it get this bad. I think because I accepted early on that this movie would be that kind of over-the-top.
I think despite that, this is probably one of my more minor criticisms of the flick. This story hinges on over-the-top answers to an over-the-top problem. In this world that the creators made, it doesn’t feel all that shocking when the high jinks ensues. Instead, it feels kind of expected. Wouldn’t it be funnier if the over-the-top answers were to less exaggerated problems? For those of you that are parents, think about what you do for your kids. Are you truly running around being late for everything? Most parents adjust their time accordingly. They get up at appropriate hours of the morning to get ready, give themselves plenty of time to make the family breakfast, get their kids to school, work with their jobs to give a fair gap of time to get to work on time, there’s so many factors that this movie ignores. I know real parents forget things sometimes. Shit happens, they feel bad, they adapt, and make attempts to do better in the future. But it’s never allowed to get this chaotic. A more realistic approach to overworked moms would have been the better alternate set-up to allow the shock of over-the-top wild and craziness to be more effective because the antics and the way they go about their venting is funny.
I also really didn’t agree with the whole, “Everyone here’s a bad mom,” speech. No, bad moms beat their kids and don’t care about them. Mom’s that are late for things, make mistakes, take their caring too far isn’t being a bad parent. Annoying as fuck, sure, but not bad. It’s like it’s saying when mothers make small, even big mistakes, with only the best of intentions at heart, as if trying too hard makes them bad parents. That every so often, a parent wants to let loose and not be tied down to the responsibilities of parenting and just have some fun in their busy lives, this somehow makes them bad parents. This isn’t the case. Adults get it. They really do. Maybe it’s not something they explicitly say out loud, and that’s what makes this comedy work more often than not, but don’t let that mean this is every day with parents. They’re always going to try and work hard to make their kids lives happy and full-filled. No one’s judging a parent if they just want a break from it all once in a while. Thank God, they do address most of that, but it’s such an odd argument to have.
Ironically, the closest thing to cardinal sins to this movie is Gwendolyn. Now before anyone reaches down my throat to rip my innards out, let me clarify something: I LOVE APPLEGATE!!! I’ve loved her since her TV show SAMANTHA WHO?. Out of everyone in this movie, I was looking forward to her the most. Generally speaking, she’s a selling point for me in any movie. She was the reason I wanted to see VACATION (2015 – wasn’t a good movie, but I liked her in it), she was one of the major reasons I cared about this film at all. And, like Bell, she’s not bad in it. But her character is not handled well. I accepted her as the bully of the story. Cliché, but fine, I still love Applegate. She does a fantastic job of me wanting to see Amy stick it to her. So why in the end when Amy wins the election of being the new PTA president that we see Gwendolyn in her car crying out a sob story about how crappy her life is and being everyone’s friend? When, at any point in the movie, did she ever drop hints that she really was miserable and just needed these PTA meetings to feel important? This moment isn’t earned. I mean, she tried to get Amy’s daughter kicked off the soccer team by putting marijuana joints in her locker. That’s fucked up! What parent would forgive that?! And wouldn’t that be, you know, ILLEGAL?!?!?! Shouldn’t Gwendolyn be in prison for doing that?! Holy fuck, dude!
Despite the movie’s minor flaws, it’s still a solid laugh riot. If this movie winds up being not your thing, I totally get it. If you want to call it unoriginal, I might agree. But for me, the performances are nothing short of hilarious, there’s a lot of genuinely emotional moments, it’s hard for me to say that it’s not enjoyable. I really liked this movie and I do recommend it if you’re interested.
My honest rating: 4/5
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg2TSp5tJy4
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELKsrUssyQE
- trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX1BTiHzq-I