Bad Moms isn’t a bad movie. In fact, it’s a very, very funny movie– 90% of it anyway. And if it didn’t fall down the rabbit hole of comedy tropism, wherein the main character has to have a tearful, heartfelt revelation set to the dulcet tones of a sweet, gentle bit of orchestral gooey-ness, it may well have been one of the best films of the summer. It’s still close enough, though, and well worth repeated viewings… and that’s coming from someone clearly on the outside-looking-in of the target audience. (Sigh… me and my pesky y-chromosome.)
Mila Kunis stars as beleaguered mom Amy Mitchell, overworked, stressed-to-the-max, and saddled with a failing marriage to dirtbag slacker Mike (David Walton). Not only is she constantly running from one end of town to the other (soccer practice, PTA meetings, bake sales, etc.), she’s also dealing with the constant, condescending glare of super-mom Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). When Amy finally reaches her breaking point, she goes from one extreme to the other, and decides what she really needs is a little quality “me time”.
At the local watering hole she meets a pair of willing compatriots in raunchy Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and mild-mannered Kiki (Kristen Bell). Together the trio get the revolution going with a wild, uninhibited trip to the local supermarket, and Bad Moms only gets crazier from there. Before long Amy has not only told off her millennial boss and instructed her tween kids that they have the power to pour their own bowl of cereal in the morning, she’s gone and taken the leap to confront Gwendolyn head-on and challenge her in the upcoming PTA presidential election.
Bad Moms is rife with some of the most gut-busting comedy this side ofBridesmaids. The one-liners are delivered with such spot-on timing from Kunis, Bell, and Hahn that it’s almost startling they haven’t been called upon to be the comedic lead in every movie lately. They even manage to deftly stick the dismount on the bits of physical comedy, too (including, yes, more than a few prat falls).
But the movie isn’t just about fed-up moms boozing at lunch and then telling the father of their children to step it up for once, it’s actually a sweet commentary on motherhood, too. These three women really (really) love their kids; they just need a break once in awhile. And anyone with offspring of their own can easily sympathize.
Surprisingly Bad Moms was written and directed by men– The Hangover writers Scott Moore and Jon Lucas. I’m not entirely sure how they’re able to so easily tap into the hearts and minds of exhausted moms everywhere, but they pull it off in spades. And but for bit of third act cheese and the pretty little bow that gets tied around everything at the end, they could have had an unqualified top-notch classic on their hands.
By and large, Bad Moms works as not only a ribald comedy but as a welcome diversion to anyone dealing with sippy cups, piano recitals, and tee-ball on a daily basis. It’s smart and charming, profane and profound all at once–the perfect field trip for book clubs and art & wine night aficionados, because more than anything these bad moms remind mothers (and fathers) everywhere why being a parent is so good.