Bad Moms is in the tradition of Bridesmaids, Trainwreck, Sisters, and other modern comedies that prove women can party just as hard as men. It’s essentially a female version of The Hangover, which is no surprise seeing how the film was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Compared to the aforementioned movies, however, Bad Moms never entirely delivers in the laugh department. Despite having a capable cast, an intriguing setup, and even a sincere moral, the film ultimately feels like a half-assed Mother’s Day present. Although to be fair, it is better than that other recent movie about moms.
Despite having a capable cast, an intriguing setup, and even a sincere moral, the film ultimately feels like a half-assed Mother’s Day present.
Mila Kunis stars as Amy, a stressed-out mother of two who juggles work life and family life with zero time for a social life. Amy is pushed to her limits after learning her meathead husband (David Walton) is sort-of having an affair with a woman online. With her entire world collapsing, Amy finally says to hell with responsibility and social norms. She stops cooking her children breakfast, stops attending PTA meetings, and becomes a self-proclaimed bad mom… of course she still goes to bed at a reasonable hour.
Amy is joined by Kristen Bell’s Kiki, an overworked stay at home mom, and Kathryn Hahn’s Carla, who was always a slacker mom to begin with. All three of these actresses have wonderful chemistry together. Christina Applegate is also perfectly cast as Gwendolyn, a middle-aged mean girl who believes mothers everywhere should live up to her impossibly high standards. The supporting cast is somewhat underutilized, however. Bell and Hahn are basically just there to provide one-liners, excluding a couple brief instances that offer minimal character development. The same can be said about Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo as Applegate’s stereotypical minions. The only one who’s given much focus is Kunis’ Amy, who isn’t that interesting anyway.
The larger problem with Bad Moms is that none of the characters are really bad moms per se. They get drunk and go against the status quo, but none of them ever necessarily cross a line. Since Amy and her friends never take their wild streak too far, this premise never meets its full comedic potential. It’s a shame that Bad Moms simply isn’t very funny because there is a meaningful message at the center of everything: sometimes moms need a break.
The larger problem with Bad Moms is that none of the characters are really bad moms per se.
Let’s face it. Being a mom is the hardest job on the planet. They work 24/7 without any compensation. Most children take their moms for granted, unaware of all the sacrifices they make everyday. Bad Moms demonstrates that no parent is perfect and that’s okay. Granted, the film does kind of shove this moral down the audience’s throat in the final act. Yet, it’s hard to rip on a film that gets on a soapbox for mother appreciation. At the same time, it’s hard to recommend a comedy that could have been much more. So if you want a movie that’s funny, heartfelt, and about motherhood, maybe just go watch The Kids Are All Right.