WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
The most difficult job on the planet is being a mother…at least that’s what Oprah Winfrey said according to a joke I heard Bill Burr tell once. The everyday struggle of dealing with your kids can be a tiring adventure. You have to burn through your gas to pick them up from school every day, pretend to care about their feelings, cut into your booze fund so you can feed them, listen to their problems while they ask you for bail money. You have to make many sacrifices in order to be considered a ‘Good Mom’. But what if you wanted to be a ‘Bad Mom’ for a day? What if you just wanted some me time away from the kids so you could party like you are 20 years too old to be partying? Well, you’re in luck because Bad Moms addresses this problem especially. For all the women out there who are tired of raising kids and just want to not give a fuck, well this is for you…and only you.
Our story begins with a working mother named Amy played by Mila Kunis. Amy lives a busy and joyless life being a mother of two kids. Every day she fixes their breakfast, does all their homework for them, drives them to school, goes to her part-time marketing job full of millennials, take their dog to the vet, goes to her kids PTA meetings, fixes dinner for everyone, and has just enough time in her day to discover her husband has been having an affair online for the last 10 months. After receiving the metaphorical leg drop from the real world, Amy decides that enough is enough and no longer wants to be the model mother. So Amy does what every down on their luck person does, goes to her local bar to get pissed. There she meets two other dysfunctional mothers. Kiki played by Kristen Bell, a stereotypical submissive house slave whose life involves taking a mental and physical beating by her four kids while her husband does fuck all. The third mom in this trio is Carla played by Kathryn Hahn, her sole purpose is to sleep with everyone in town and say the word cock for 101 minutes…and thank god for that because this film would be unwatchable without her. The three women go through semi-hilarious hijinks as they battle the film antagonist, A PTA warlord played by Christina Applegate who is almost as cartoonishly evil as Natasha Fatale and will stop at nothing to achieve absolute power.
Bad Moms exists in an exaggerated universe as every character plays like they are in an episode of Big Bang Theory opposed to real life. The children are walking hypochondriacs, the women are either stereotypes or pants on heads retarded, and the men would starve to death in 40 minutes if it wasn’t for their wives. Screenwriters Scott Moore and Jon Lucas are also responsible for writing such films as The Hangover and 21 & Over. So to the surprise of no one, this film is very crude and vulgar with its humor. Example being an awkward 5 minutes gag where three women discuss uncircumcised penises without no payoff outside of turning Kristen Bell into a prop. I personally have grown tired of this brand of humor that I have labeled the ‘Seth Rogan brand of comedy’ but I have to say the performance of Kathryn Hahn is the only thing that makes this movie work. While the majority of the written jokes are very miss and very tired, Hahn brings enough charm to make it enjoyable. She seems to improvise most of her lines which are probably why she gets more laughs than anyone else with written material. Kristen Bell has her moments but her character being such a parody isn’t allowed to bring much else to the film. Bad Moms mostly revolves around Mila Kunis, in a role you can argue that she is too young to play a mother of two middle schoolers; Kunis is serviceable but fails to really bring anything inspiring in a role which requires her to be the focal point. She’s just a vanilla version of her Family Guy alters ago who gets outshined by her costars with much less screen time by comparison.
Bad Moms feels like an R-rated version of Modern Family, sitcom level writing trying it’s hardest to be edgy. Lucas and Moore may have had their hearts in the right place but the execution is just poor and not coherent. The problem with a lot of female-driven comedies is that the writers believe that the girls have to be just as crude as the guys in order to be funny. Bad Moms sells itself on being a female-driven film based on bad behavior but the women don’t really do anything bad. Outside of trashing the supermarket, these women just want to have a life outside of their kids. They say a lot of dirty things but they also try to make the point to embrace not being perfect and accept vulnerability. It’s difficult to tell how this film wants to be portrayed when there doesn’t seem to be a set direction. There are two things that save this Bad Moms from being a disaster, Hahn and the ability of the trio of women to come up with witty dialogue on their own. The ending is pretty underwhelming considering they took the safe route out after 90 minutes of a villainous buildup of Applegate’s character. The film glosses over important details they could have used to build more tension like, how could Amy afford her bills only working part-time a few hours a week? How did her kids get picked up from school when she was clearly drunk at a bar? How does a guy with seemingly no job afford to stay at the Waldorf for multiple days? Bad Moms is a very flawed movie that wouldn’t even be worthy of a rental without one funny performance. Decent acting, Good Message, Bad Execution. The potential is there but it needs a different team to handle it.
OFFICIAL RATING: **