Bad Moms 2016
When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.
Bad Moms defies the obvious openers one might expect in a review of a movie with that title. No, it’s not bad. No, it’s not very good. Bad Moms falls somewhere in between, neither delivering the unabashed debauchery its name implies, nor neglecting the emotional realities of its titular moms. It’s a frustrating cocktail, but like the cheap wine swilled throughout the film by its heroes, Bad Moms still manages to get the job done.
That’s mostly thanks to its largely female ensemble, the core of which can be divided into two groups: bad moms and bad guys. The former is led by Amy (Mila Kunis), who tells us in an early, awkward exposition dump that she has two kids, an unhelpful husband, a job with a bunch of youngsters, and a whole world of “perfect mom” pressure on her shoulders. Through Amy, we’re introduced to the ringleader of the latter group: villainous PTA President Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate, clearly having a ball), an elegantly coiffed despot who makes Mean Girls’ Regina George look downright loveable.
When one of Gwendolyn’s PTA meetings pushes Amy right over the edge, Kunis finds her own clique, and that’s when the film finally picks up steam. Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell, respectively playing the hard-drinking single mom Carla and teoverwhelmed shut-in Kiki, are handed the lion’s share of the punchlines in Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s inconsistent script, and they deftly swing for the fences at every opportunity. More importantly, they offer up the bulk of the film’s emotional heft, balancing the jokes about dicks and whippets and fistfights in the Trader Joe’s parking lot with honest-to-god compassion and concern for their kids, their friends, and even their foes.