I had super low expectations going into this movie. I’ve been kind of jaded by a series of utterly forgettable comedies over the past few months, with things like The Boss, Central Intelligence, and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Some of those movies I liked but I can’t recall much about any of them. So this movie looked like another entry into that series, one I might chuckle at but won’t ever feel inclined to watch again. Was I right?
Amy (Mila Kunis) is a mom of two kids who has it pretty rough. Her husband (David Walton) doesn’t contribute, which leaves her to doing almost everything, including taking her kids to school and doing all their homework for them. She’s also overworked and completely stressed out. When the President of the PTA Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) finally pushes her too far, Amy flips and decides to just be a bad mom. What ensues is a crazy adventure about three moms (including Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) deciding to live for themselves. We’ve also got Jada Pinkett-Smith and Annie Mumolo as Gwendolyn’s two most loyal followers.
While my expectations were low, I soon found myself laughing. A lot. When Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell entered the picture, I couldn’t stop laughing. This movie is hilarious, in a way I was not at all expecting. It’s got its share of shock value and crude humor, but it also has a surprising amount of wit, especially as it relates to the role of women in parenting and turning that on its head. It’s got moments that are not only smart but maybe even genius.
So if you want a movie that will make you laugh, this movie has got you covered. Kristen Bell delivers a performance unlike anything I’ve seen her do, which is refreshing. Usually she’s the semi-normal one (see The Boss and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) but here, she’s quirky and weird in just the right ways to deliver some killer moments.
The woman who steals the show though… is Kathryn Hahn. She’s been in tons of movies, most notably Step Brothers and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days but here… this is her breakout role. This will be her moment. Her character absolutely takes advantage of this movie’s R rating but it’s her outlandishness that will leave you in stitches.
What doesn’t work?
This movie tries to have emotional resonance. I appreciate the effort but I’m not sure it really pulls it off. Kunis, for me, was the weakest link in the main cast and those quiet moments of her and her family felt hollow. Other people didn’t have a problem with her, so this might just be me. To be fair, I think she’s fine in other movies (like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Black Swan) but here, I don’t know if she was able to carry the entire emotional weight of this movie.
Bad Moms also walks a fine line between realism and absolute crazytown, so you need to be fairly forgiving of plot holes. Everytime Kunis goes wild, I couldn’t help but think where the kids were, who was watching them, etc. You’ll need to turn a blind eye to some of these things to enjoy the chaos.
This movie is hilarious. For a summer fun night out at the movies, this will do the trick. In order to make this movie funny, it can tend to veer towards the crude and it can have gaping plot holes, but if you can learn to accept it, you will love this. Kunis is fine but the real highlights are Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell, both of which deliver some of the best comedic performances of their careers. This isn’t a great movie though, as a fair bit of the movie is dedicated to a sentimental story about Kunis’ character and her two kids, which ultimately fell a bit flat for me. Compared to other similar raunchy comedies of recent years, this one is a just tad above the average.