Bad Moms, 2016.
Written and Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.
Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernández, Clark Duke, Emjay Anthony, Oona Laurence, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolu, David Walton, Leah McKendrick, Megan Ferguson, and Christina Applegate.
When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence.
Of all the different types of people in the world, quite easily one of the most annoying is a parental figure with a superiority complex that their method of teaching children right and wrong is right, (along with how to behave and mingle in society) preaching to everyone else that they are doing everything wrong and that they are the devil incarnate for doing so. Bad Moms is sort of a love letter to the stressed-out parents, specifically moms, that are more relaxed when it comes to strict rules and guiding a young one’s life. And you know what, it’s actually about freaking time this approach was taken towards a story on parenting.
Not that it necessarily matters, but I grew up watching R-rated films, playing violent video games, and generally doing what I wanted because it was clear I understood the difference between reality and fiction, and also the difference between right and wrong. Watching Jason Voorhees murder stupid teenagers at Camp Crystal Lake had no effect on me whatsoever, but there are parents that do actually feel a little violence will scar a child for life. It’s ridiculous and bullshit; those things don’t shift someone into developing a mentally unstable personality.
My parents also never talked to me like I was some special little snowflake that was perfect and unable to do no wrong. If I was a pain in the ass, I would hear about it, but once again, there are some parents that live in a world of sunshine and rainbows, and it’s something that has only gotten worse with the constant uprising of political correctness, which is most definitely a good thing but is not without its frustrating aspects. The right and wrong way to be a parent is one of the nuisances, as evident in a hilarious on the button scene where the PTA president rattles off a list of ingredients not to be used in food for a bake sale. Again, it’s freaking ridiculous, a little sugar or fatty foods once in a while aren’t going to hurt a kid.
Ranting aside, there is a movie here to review, and it’s of the raunchy comedy type that involves a trio of mothers sick of the struggle to find perfection among the world of over-saturated political correctness. It’s easy to root for these moms based on the angle of the plot alone, but it also helps that the leads consisting of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn are all committed to their individual zany personalities, complete with a great degree of chemistry working together. The characters are absolutely one-note (Mila Kunis is insecure about her imperfections, Kristen Bell is flat-out awkward saying a number of weird things, while Kathryn Hahn is sex obsessed and drops F bombs like no other), but they all share in common that they are being driven mad by the day-to-day routine of parenting, and therefore should be more relaxed.
Naturally, the mothers all get a little bit too relaxed to make for a comedy that is actually funny, so in the end you have a movie about mothers finding a balance between the two sides of the coin. The only real problem is that a good number of the jokes are very hit and miss, often relying on pushing the envelope of what you can get away with in an R-rated comedy just for the sake of it. The idea behind the movie is great, but the writers don’t really know how to execute it beyond attempting to be as vulgar as possible. Again, occasionally this does work.
Unfortunately, nothing can save that the movie is very amateurishly directed, going into far too many musical montages. By the end of this brisk 95 minute movie you will have probably heard every popular mainstream song that gets regular airplane on the radio, often as background noise while the moms let loose and act wild. The writing and direction isn’t strong enough to showcase the story any other way.
Bad Moms admittedly does has its heart in the right place however, as made clearly evident by the ending credits that actually features footage of the lead actors talking to their real life mothers about their upbringing and childhood. It elicits a very warm feeling, and actually makes you forgive the movie for its missteps. It’s not perfect, but the message will resonate a lot harder and stronger than cookie-cutter greeting card garbage like Mother’s Day that should have been fired into the sun.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
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