Every once in a while, you find an R-rated comedy that is really well put together, with a surprising amount of heart. Bad Moms is one of those.
The movie focuses on Amy, a young mother of two middle school aged kids who is completely overwhelmed between making the kids’ lunches, getting them to school, getting to work, picking the kids up then taking them to their extra-curriculars, and making dinner for everyone at home, including her husband, who is barely engaged in the situation. She also has multiple PTA meetings after all that run by the Queen Mother of the school – Gwendolyn, who ensures that every mother tries to be as perfect as she is.
One day Amy hits her breaking point, after kicking out her husband who has been having an online affair for 10 months, and being requested to be part of the ‘snack police’ at a PTA meeting. She quits the PTA, shocking Gwendolyn and her henchwomen, Stacy and Vicki, and heads to a bar to unwind.
While there, young stressed-out mother Kiki joins her, and they encounter - let’s just call her loose – mother Carla. The three realize that it is impossible to live up to the expectations of society for good mothers, and decide to be ‘bad moms’ for a bit – in order to relax. Hijinks ensue – and I mean, the hijinks are hilarious. They go to a movie during the day, they meet for lunch and drinks, they tear up a grocery store – and attempt to get Amy a date, which goes really awkwardly until she runs into the young, hot widower that all the moms have been crushing on, who just so happens to be crushing on her.
In the process, Amy realizes that she can’t be a perfect mom, but being a bad mom is no good either, so she learns to find a balance, to allow her kids to be more self-reliant, and give herself a break now and then when she makes a mistake. Oh, and she also runs for PTA president against Gwendolyn, toppling Gwendolyn’s empire in front of all the mothers of the school.
The movie is short, hilarious, and touching. It’s directed by Jon Lucas, who has really only directed episodes of the show mixology up to this point – but he did write all three of the Hangover movies, if that gives you any sense of his comedic tendencies. He also wrote the new Office Christmas Party movie, and if you’ve seen the trailers for that, it looks raunchy and hilarious – which is how I would classify Bad Moms as well. It’s a simple story, directed well, and the material is elevated by the strong cast.
- It really is a Mila Kunis movie, which is a bit of a surprise, I think I expected more of an ensemble piece, but she really carries the movie well, and does a wonderful job of portraying Amy as a woman who got married and had kids really young, and missed out on her twenties, and is now unsure how to get back to herself. Kunis is really skilled at raunchy comedy, and is fantastic here.
- Kathryn Hahn has been so good for so long, it was really nice to see her get the chance to shine a bit more in this movie. She plays the wild and loose Carla, and really helps the other two enjoy their lives a bit more. She’s sort of a bad influence, and at first comes off as annoyed with her own child, but then lets her true self show as she comes to trust the ladies, and tells them how much she really does love her son. She is loud and hilarious, and overdue for getting credit for her skill!
- Kristen Bell plays a similar character to her character in The Boss – just a little more high-strung here. Her husband is completely dominating, she’s completely overwhelmed and sheepish – and as soon as the other two ladies help her realize she doesn’t have to be that way – the moment she tells off her husband was worth of applause.
- Christina Applegate was the perfect choice for Gwendolyn, icy and dominating, she rules over the PTA with an iron fist. She’s so evil, that I actually was upset she didn’t get more of a comeuppance or punishment for her behavior at the end of the movie, but that wouldn’t really fit with the ‘lesson’. Man, I wanted her to get what was coming to her! So evil!
- Jada Pinkett Smith plays Gwenolyn’s right hand woman Stacy – equally evil, but not as Alpha. She’s really fun in this as the sidekick who is there to enforce Gwendolyn’s tyranny!
- Annie Mumolo, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, plays Vicky, Gwendolyn’s other henchwoman, she’s a bit dim, but gets some really funny one-liners.
- David Walton who is that guy you know from that one failed sitcom, plays Amy’s husband Mike. He comes off as a dumb jerk, but once they go through some fun counseling with Wanda Sykes, you realize they both made a mistake – love their kids, but not necessarily one another, and really, I was impressed with the movie for making the separation feel like a positive thing. It was a delicate line to tread, and it was done well. Mike could have been a villain, but instead, ended up an okay guy.
- Clark Duke plays Amy’s boss Dale, who is a very Clark Duke-like guy. He’s a bit of a hipster at a coffee company, where it seems that Amy is the only one doing any actual work, even though she’s supposed to be part time.
- Jay Hernandez plays Jessie – the hot widower, and as he stole Suicide Squad for me, he stole the scenes he’s in this movie as well. Genuine, sweet, kind, and ideal – he’s really wonderful here. Plus, when did he get so hot? I just remember him as that kid from Torque.
- The wonderful Wendell Pierce plays the principal of the school – he has very little to do, but he’s fun for the few scenes he’s in.
Overall the movie is short and fun – and well worth a watching, even if (like me) you’re not a mom! The best part is that over the closing credits, the six lead actresses are interviewed with their real-life moms, talking about how they did, and how they are now doing as they are all moms. It’s really sweet, and very touching, and the perfect way to end the movie!
8 out of 10 – Gained points for J.J. Watt playing the soccer coach. J. J. Watt!
Bonus: Cast Interviews:
the Office Christmas Party trailer – like I said, really raunchy, but hilarious!