I can understand actors who change things up in regards to the films they star in. No one likes to do the same thing over and over throughout their entire careers. I also appreciate how difficult it is to do comedy. More than any other film genre it takes a particular type of actor to get the timing down to be good in it. I even understand that this is the genre that Mila Kunis feels most comfortable in as she started off in it (television’s That 70s Show) and has had her most success in it (Ted, Family Guy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The problem is that Bad Moms is in no way a funny film.
Written and directed by the guys who wrote The Hangover series of films, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore are very experienced in the crass comedy genre. But since the original The Hangover film they have not been able to duplicate that quality with their subsequent films like 21 & Over and The Change-Up. They have become lazy and sloppy. What is even more depressing is that they wrote this film as love letters to their wives. Great that it acknowledges that we expect moms to be super human today with working jobs and bringing up kids, but that is where the positive stuff ends. It does not portray mothers as just frazzled due to overwork, rather it shows them to be irresponsible in response to the pressure. Big time. Not in a cute way either.
The whole cult of mom thing is not really going to get any help via this film. It is too bad because there is a funny movie in here somewhere struggling to get out. The good stuff is just buried beneath a ton of bad jokes, overly predictable moments and too much lowest common denominator. Sometimes in comedy you do have to go over the top, but they do so here in an unfunny way. Plus each of the characters was so one dimensional you could not really like them or cheer for them. Even the usually funny and bang on Kunis seemed to be struggling getting a handle on hers. Is this because the film was written by men about women? That is for you to decide.
That being said even with all that there will be moments in the film in which moms out there will identify with and laugh and cheer about. They will see a reflection of their lives. Done in a very exaggerated way, but this is of no matter. Tired moms are the target audience for the film and I have a feeling they will be flocking to see it. If they can get a moment away from the kids.
On the surface Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) looks like she has everything – a solid marriage, fun part-time job and two great kids. It is only if you look a little closer that you notice the cracks in everything. Her slacker husband (David Walton – from television’s New Girl) has been having an online affair for 10 months, her daughter (Oona Laurence – Southpaw) is stressed out, her son (Emjay Anthony – The Jungle Book – 2016, Chef) cannot do anything for himself including his own homework, and her job involves being overworked and underappreciated. Actually, those last two words describe Amy’s entire life. She spends it doing everything for everyone in her life, running late all the time and feeling like she doesn’t measure up.
Finally deciding that enough is enough Amy tosses her husband out and refuses to try to live up to the ridiculously high standards set by her kids’ school’s PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Hall Pass) anymore. Gwendolyn is not a woman to take defeat lightly and declares all-out war on Amy. Even if she has to go through her kids to get her.
Amy finds soul sisters in two other outsider moms, Kiki (Kristen Bell – Frozen, Veronica Mars) and man crazy divorcee Carla (Kathryn Hahn – Captain Fantastic, We’re the Millers). The form a merry trio and support each other in their stance of “enough is enough”. They start advocating more freedom and fun for fellow moms. Gwendolyn begins to hate them even more when Amy decides to run against her for PTA president. Now Gwendolyn and her minions, Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith – from television’s Gotham) and Vicky (Annie Mumolo – This is 40, Bridesmaids), target them for termination.