by Michael B. Hock
Mothers have always had to work hard. No one is denying that, raising us from screaming balls of snot and flesh into functioning members of society isn’t an easy thing. And it has gotten even worse lately with the mommy wars… the feeling that you’re not doing it quite as well thanks to pintrest providing the perfect gluten free, sugar free, trans-fat free mermaid cupcakes that kids are going to love, or the whole debate about just about everything mothers do, from working to breastfeeding. Naturally, everyone is on the lookout at all times. What happens when the mommy wars bubble bursts?
Bad Moms… the latest in the “bad” movie trend takes a look at it what happens when that bubble bursts with montage-y results.
Mila Kunis is Amy, an overworked mother of two who has a husband who’s barely willing to lift a finger, a millennial boss (because millennials… amirite?) and a schedule packed so tightly she barely has time to attend the latest PTA meeting from President/Dictator/Most Popular Mom ever (so she’s clearly hiding a secret) Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). After finding out her husband is cheating on her, she decides to cut loose, and stop being a perfect mom, eventually teaming up with Carla (Kathryn Hahn, throwing herself into the role amazingly) and Kiki (Kristen Bell, always a delight and bonus points for avoiding the obvious Frozen jokes.) Will they be able to win the PTA Election while helping their kids be better people and wooing the hunky widower dad? (Jay Hernandez, without the face tattoos and fire powers that made him one of Suicide Squad’s more compelling characters.)
Probably. It’s a comedy.
I like to start out positive, so I’m going to here… this is a funny movie. It has plenty of the jokes that you’d expect about Pintrest and PTA moms with near dictatorship control over the PTA, but it manages to put funny spins on them. Kathryn Hahn may be the MVP of comedy movies for the summer, if not the year, for a scene of white Russian drinking/bathing alone. This is a funny movie, that unfortunately gets bogged down in wish-fulfillment fantasies that it borderlines on porn.
Keep in mind when I say “porn” I don’t mean the stuff that’s not safe for work that you clear from your browser history after each visit. (Note… did I clear my browser history this morning?) I mean the type of porn that is amazingly satisfying to a specific group, like foodies being shown the perfect hamburger put together, or the way a camera will swoop in over a guitar for musicians.
Amy doesn’t just have a busy schedule… she has the busiest schedule ever. Her husband isn’t just a lazy idiot who works most of his time from home. He’s the laziest, worst husband to the point that you have to wonder how Amy hasn’t murdered him yet. And the way he’s presented, if she had murdered him, most of the audience would have cheered. Everything in this movie is exaggerated to the point of almost taking me out of it. Amy’s boss isn’t just a millennial working what I’m guessing is the writer’s imagination of where a millennial will work… it’s the most millennial millennial to ever have millennialed. And I don’t just mean with Amy’s “before the break” life. I get that people are busy and things are tough. Afterward, the movie wraps up everything so perfectly that it I was wondering at times if I missed a scene where a fairy godmother made everything better.
That’s not to say it doesn’t speak to moms who do deserve a break. And let me stress before the angry emails start: moms deserve a break, more so than a chance to drive the sports car and preferably well before their husbands cheat on them.
Despite this, at least it does all of this in an incredibly hilarious manner. Kunis is hilarious as Amy, stumbling through her schedule and eventually deciding that it is not worth it. Some of her best scenes are her looking to her kids, letting them know they’ll be making their own breakfasts, and heading back to bed for a little while. And Katherine Hahn maybe one of the funniest actors I’ve seen in a movie in a very long time, committing herself to the role of the wilder mom and never letting even the sappy moments get sappy.
It’s a funny way to spend an afternoon.