If you’re after a comedy that’s slightly better than you might have anticipated but is still just average…then you’ve come to the right place
Bad Moms stars Mila Kunis, who is horribly miscast no matter how nice she is to look at, as Amy; Kathryn Hahn as genuine bad mother Carla and Kristen Bell as crazy stay at home mom, Kiki. These moms are fed up of pressures of being a mom in modern day society and decide to break bad (but not really). Disapproving moms Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo) with their ridiculous bake sales, excessive PTA (whatever that is) meetings and their insistence on running the school like a Mafia, are Amy’s catalyst for becoming a ‘Bad Mom’.
Amy is so sick of her lazy husband, who is having an online affair, her lazy, entitled children, her douchebag boss and the PTA ladies that she eventually gives in to the pressure and decides to give not give a shit anymore. However when Gwendolyn goes too far, Amy puts herself forward to represent the ‘bad moms’ by running for PTA president (again, no idea what this is, it seems to only exist in US comedies).
The opening 20 minutes or so almost had me walking out of the cinema. It’s a slow starter and although she’s the main character, Kunis’ Amy is by far the least funny or interesting of any of the characters. Maybe it’s because she’s miscast. For example, there’s a part where she is having trouble finding, for want of a better phrase, a partner for the evening. Yeah right. A lot of her dialogue is also just exposition explaining exactly and as stupidly as possible the feelings that she’s feeling at that particular moment. And that’s a shame because there are real issues here, that are only just touched on briefly. The issue of how a single mom (god I hate using that Americanism) would juggle a job, kids, love life, money etc are all real issues but at no point do you think that Amy is struggling. She’s living in what is quite obviously a privileged area in a huge house with her friends being exactly the same. Her kids are high achievers at school, she has a good job that obviously pays well. Her struggle doesn’t feel quite so real as a result. It tries to dig deeper than the comedy at parts but doesn’t really succeed because it plays it all a bit too safe. I know it’s supposed to be a comedy, but comedies can be funny and have a genuine message to tell. They’re the best ones, I find.
The film does actually make a point, maybe too much, of saying everyone’s a ‘bad mom’ these days because of the pressure placed on them. Society tells you everything you’re doing is wrong. Which is a good point to raise, even if it force-fed to the audience incredibly heavy handedly. I’m pretty sure we get the same speech about three times.
I know this is going to sound stupid, given the amount of terrible support roles that women get. And I agree, women should be given more interesting roles in films. They’re often sidelined when alongside male roles. And that’s wrong. It’s also bad filmmaking. We get the opposite here. All the male characters in ‘Bad Moms’ are all just weird caricatures of stereotypically lazy, halfwit dads who don’t even know their own children’s names. There’s no men picking up kids from school, or at PTA meetings, obviously apart from one guy Jessie (Jay Hernandez) who’s the stereotypical perfect widower who’s just too good to be true. It’s slightly offensive but even worse it’s just a really lazy way to write a film. Aren’t we past using boring stereotypes as plot devices yet?
Once the film gets going, and by that I mean Bell and Hahn get some screen time, it genuinely is quite funny in parts. Tonally, though, I’m not sure what they were going for here. Amy is quite tedious and doesn’t really get any laughs, whereas the rest of the cast are almost playing caricatures. But it’s not terrible. There are some decent laughs in here. There’s obviously the jokes that you’d expect from an ‘adult’ comedy with a house party in it but there is some more clever, interesting comedy in there somewhere.
AVERAGE. Bad Moms is probably better than I thought it was going to be, but that’s not saying much. The cast were all strong but there was potential here to actually tell an interesting story, which this film does not. But if you want to kill an hour and a half and fancy some easy laughs, then check this out.