Thursday, November 3, 2016

Movie Review: Bad Moms (2016)

Bad Moms movie poster
Bad Moms (2016) - Written and Directed by John Lucas, Scott Moore; Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Clark Duke, Jay Hernandez, Wendell Pierce, Wanda Sykes, J.J. Watt.

By Kenny Howell

Bad Moms is definitely writing for a particular audience.

The film about moms letting loose after being overworked and overstressed is definitely wish-fulfillment for modern day moms. The trio of moms played by Mila Kunis (Ted), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) and Kathryn Hahn (We're the Millers) have had enough of bake sales, kids' homework, PTA meetings, and all the craziness, and they just need a minute. There are endless scenes of moms partying, pretty much all in slow motion with hip hop playing over it, and you know it is designed to make moms wish they could do the same.

Despite all that, where Bad Moms succeeds is that it can grab an audience outside of that contingent. It is filled with funny women, most notably Hahn, and Christina Applegate (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) as the ice queen PTA president with dictatorial tendencies. I am obviously not the target audience, though I can relate seeing all my wife does for my children, but I found myself laughing quite a bit.

Kunis plays Amy, a working mom to two kids who pushes herself too hard to be the perfect mom. Her husband is a successful broker that feels more like a third kid than a husband. One day, she meets up with two other overstressed moms, Bell's Kiki and Hahn's Carla. They go out drinking and decide it's time for them to have time to themselves. The night changes them, and they begin to shirk their responsibilities to their husbands and children. That includes blowing off PTA meetings which angers Applegate's Gwendolyn. She strikes back, and that forces Amy to run against her for PTA President.

Bad Moms could have easily just been moms partying, and while there is a bit of that, it is more about the pressures that are put on moms to be perfect. They have to take care of all the stuff at home, plus have jobs because the need for two incomes these days. Unfortunately for the trio of women here, they don't have the male counterparts to help them in these endeavors, though one does exist in the film by the name Jessie, a single dad at the school the mom's drool over played by Jay Hernandez (Suicide Squad). It does make it more convenient for the film to make the case, but the point is strong enough to carry the film even when it falls back on too much mom partying because are just trying to find that balance where they can give their family everything they need while still taking time for themselves. It ends up being a surprisingly funny experience, one more solid than I ever expected it would be.

Rating: **1/2

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