Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bad Moms: Movie Review


Lessons on motherhood with some comedy and a lot of exaggerated simplicity.
Bad Moms is like one of those ideas that is both good and bad. A part of me feels like we’ve been given this lesson - that being a mother is hard and the dangers of modern perfectionism can destroy children and parents alike – a hundred times before, but upon reflection, perhaps we haven’t. And if they want to impart that lesson with some hard-core partying, then maybe it isn’t all bad. 2016

Directed by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Screenplay by: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell

There are a lot of elements that have been exaggerated into its most simplistic, and that can be extremely aggravating. Let’s start with the husband of Mom #1 – Amy (Mila Kunis), who is played by David Walton. He is referred to as a child and he is a child. He naps instead of working, he’s incapable of picking even a child up from even one after-school activity, he can’t help with the cooking or the cleaning, congratulates his son for getting a D in school, oh and he has an online affair because he doesn’t care about his wife. If Amy is supposed to represent the average mom, surely he can’t represent the average dad. It’s hard to find the humour in that since their heavy-handedness in demonstrating how great she is and how terrible he is, is just too over-the-top.

The school is run by three Type A PTA moms. Christina Applegate’s Gwendolyn is the queen, Jada Pinkett Smith’s Stacy is her second-in-command, but I completely commend Annie Mumolo for pulling off the role as their lesser friend, who is graciously allowed to hang out with them. They are very one-note villains, and only Gwendolyn gets another layer (and a really good one) but not until the very end.

Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn star in
BAD MOMS, an Entertainment One release.
However, the best part of Bad Moms are the bad moms. The audience is treated to a trio of talented and hilarious ladies who play off of one another perfectly. Mila Kunis’ Amy is the central character, an over-worked mom who has done everything for her kids and cries every day through fear of her failure as a mom. Thankfully though, she’s not a completely one-note figure of perfectionism. She definitely has her moments of bad decisions and a somewhat crippling self-esteem problem. She’s even easier to handle when her new best friends and bad mom partners are introduced. Kathryn Hahn’s Carla is an actual bad mom – insults her son, hits on everything that moves (male or female, married or not married), and drinks anything alcoholic in sight. And Hahn actually makes the extreme exaggeration funny. Kristen Bell’s Kiki is a stay-at-home mom with way too many kids, is very reserved and repressed, and of course taken advantage of by her mean incompetent husband (not as bad as husband #1, but almost).

The hijinks of the three moms were pretty funny. The friendship that they formed though was even better. Amy can help control some of Carla’s more inappropriate behaviour, while Carla can help Kiki come out of her shell, and the two of them can help Amy get the confidence she needs to be a good mom.

Bad Moms keeps veering towards this awful simplistic exaggeration just to make sure the audience knows what’s good and bad, and that really dampens the comedy. But the three main moms lend the film a little bit of heart and can really handle the comedy which helps keep the lesson from landing too hard.