It doesn’t seem like two dudes who wrote the Hangover franchise have the appropriate experience to write and direct a movie titled BAD MOMS. For one, the Hangover movies are such a bro party that it’s difficult to even imagine them writing something so female-driven. Secondly, they’re dudes. It’s hard to believe that they can write about the “mom experience” without having sprung forth life from their loins. Naturally, in a cinematic landscape that is on high-alert for representation of females, people of color and other minorities, eyebrows were raised and rants were made. We didn’t need a “female Hangover” nor did we need two dudes trying to tell us the story of “bad moms.” It’s the equivalent of a white director trying to tell the story of a black man. If a white director is so bold to helm a movie depicting the experience of a person of color — and they have — they have to do a damn good job at it, or else they will have to atone to the marginalized masses.
But Bad Moms is far from The Color Purple or Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s an R-rated comedy that has dick jokes of many variations. What could have easily been an unnecessary Soccer Moms Gone Wild, turns out to be a hilarious F-bomb-ridden love letter and heartfelt dedication to moms who have unconditional love for their a-hole sons, resentful daughters and moronic husbands.
Mila Kunis stars as Amy, a typical archetype of an overworked and under-appreciated working mom. She reaches her breaking point when, after having a hellacious day, vicious Alpha Mom Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) condescendingly scolds her for being late to the PTA meeting in front of an audience of parental constituents. Along with this, her cyber-cheating husband and her kids that drive her crazy with their demands and ungratefulness, she gives up and decides that she is “done” with everything and struts out of the meeting. While drowning her sorrows and celebrating at a bar, she connects with raunchy single mom Carla (the always brilliant and wildly overlooked Kathryn Hahn) and frazzled, pushover-of-a-mom Kiki (Kristen Bell). The three of them become BFFs and set themselves free of their mommy responsibilities. This leads to a series of judgmental run-ins with Gwendolyn and her clan of moms, Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and the dim Vicky (the hysterical Annie Mumolo). But after Gwendolyn crosses the line and starts manipulating the lives of her kids, Amy decides to bring her down by running against her for PTA president. Thus begins the best matriarch war of the summer.
It’s been a while since a comedy has made me laugh and smile so much that I felt the breeze from theater’s air conditioning against my teeth and gums. Bad Moms is the best comedy of the summer — but it’s not like there was any competition. Even if there were, the mom comedy would still come out on top with its endless barrage of jokes, spirited energy, delightful inappropriateness (mostly provided by Hahn’s Carla), and magnetic chemistry between the actresses.
Director/writing duo of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore tell the story of mothers, but instead of mansplaining mom life, they handle portraying mom experiences with an acute eye and, surprisingly, a minimal amount of screen time for the male actors. Lucas and Moore most likely pulled from life experiences and observations to tell the stories of Amy, Carla, and Kiki. Although these characters fit into typical mom archetype, it’s framed with sincerity, care and an apology that says, “We’ll never know how hard it is to be a mom, but for what it’s worth, we’re sorry for being so obnoxious.”
With all of its crass humor and fun moments of atypical mom behavior, the movie is a by-the-numbers comedy that at times, is enjoyably exaggerated and predictable. From Amy’s chaotic domestic life in the beginning to her thin, yet white-hot, love story with single DILF Jessie (Jay Hernandez) all the way till the end when the moral is suddenly realized and every single character is a better person because of it, it’s a nicely packaged pic. Bad Moms not only fulfills the need for an top-notch, foul-mouthed summer comedy, but will make you want to call your mom and apologize for being such a jerk of a kid.
Running time: 101 minutes
Dino-Ray Ramos watches too much TV, enjoys reality singing competitions and laughs inappropriately during dramatic films. He’s a fan of comedy, podcasts, and comedy podcasts. He’s a reformed comic book geek and thinks “The Goonies” is the best movie of all time. When he isn’t stuffing his face with a burrito, he’s thinking about his next trip to Disneyland.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer