Written by Megan LaBruna
Bad Moms Plot Summary:
After an incredibly terrible day, Amy (Mila Kunis) decides she is no longer going to try and keep up with the standards required of great moms by quitting the P.T.A., and focusing on herself for a bit. In doing so, she inspires herself and others to embrace and accept the fact that being a “bad” mom isn’t always such a bad thing.
I enjoy every one of the ladies in Bad Moms. They truly had quality comedic actresses with the likes of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn. And having Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo as villains….so great; which is maybe why I think I expected more from this movie.
I know Bad Moms was trying to make a statement; I’m just not sure what that statement was. It’s like they wanted to make a comment about feminism, but also about how ridiculous parenting standards are these days, but there were also some weird undertones poking fun at our radically overly sensitive PC culture. I think the writers got lost in everything they wanted to support, and instead of making a film with a clear message, they made a confusing jumble of jokes that sometimes hit right on the nose, and other times completely came out of left field. There were actual moments that I could physically hear the audience respond “O.M.G., I can’t believe they went there,” but the shock value wasn’t needed, and I think it hurt the movie more than it helped.
One instance for example, Amy throws a meet the candidate party at her house which turns into a massive party. Awesome. That’s super cool seeing moms let loose, especially on a school night. But then they had several women making out with each other, and peeing on the front lawn. Again, I’m all for having a good time, but I’m not for popularizing cheating on significant others and public intoxication, just because you gave some moms a case of cheap wine. Let’s be at least moderately practical here: Hollywood unrealistic antics-1, feminism-0.
It’s not all bad though, I promise. There were a few glittering moments that this movie got completely right. Firstly, shedding light on the insane amount of stress children are under. Between school, extracurricular activities and everything else going on, kids no longer have time to be just that; kids. Amy’s daughter, Jane (Oona Laurence), perfectly sums that up when she is freaking out about making the soccer team. The high of getting a spot on the team is immediately knocked down, knowing that if she is a bench warmer, that might ruin her chance of getting into college. She’s twelve. That’s insane, and yet that moment highlights true fears twelve year olds (and younger) in our society have these days. But seeing Mila Kunis as a mom trying to interpret that moment was pretty amusing.
Second, the fact that parents may baby their kids far too long, allowing them to feel a bit entitled. In the beginning of the film, Amy is making specialized lunches and doing her son’s history project for him. She’s also going to work, keeping up with the house and carting her kids every which way to after school activities. When she decides to be a “bad” mom, she makes them take on some responsibilities, such as making breakfast, and doing their own homework. These are things that are completely reasonable to expect from pre-teens. And the dramatic teen angst that followed such a request was pretty funny (and realistic) to watch.
Lastly, the insane standards for school bake sales. I understand there are food allergies out there, but holy cow it has become nearly impossible to bake anything for a school anymore. So, the fact that this movie highlights that this particular “struggle” is SO real is pretty hilarious in and of itself.
There were also a few moments of entertaining character development, mostly when Amy gives up and starts embracing her “bad” mom mentality, allowing Carla (Kathryn Hahn) to talk her into more things than she probably should have. Also, when Kiki (Kristen Bell) finally stands up to her whiny, yuppie husband (Lyle Brocato) so she can enjoy a well deserved night out with her friends away from their four tiny terrors of children.
As for some of the smaller roles, Texans fans please don’t hate me for what I’m about to say. I wasn’t impressed with J.J. Watt’s role in this film. It was more like an odd parody of himself, you know, if he wasn’t a 6’5” mass of utter intimidation and was really really into cats. He was no Vinnie Jones from She’s the Man, but it was entertaining enough watching him cower to these tiny women in stilettos. Martha Stewart played herself in an incredibly small scene, but at least we’ve learned she makes some bangin’ jell-o shots (yum!). Wanda Sykes stuck to what she was good at…sarcasm. David Walton and Jay Hernandez seemed to be merely there as a catalyst for Amy’s change and eye candy.
Overall, I was underwhelmed. Much like other primarily female cast comedies of this summer (cough, Ghostbusters, cough), the acting was not the issue here. I can only hope for stronger scripts in future comedies that feature female leads capable of such humor and grace.