Movie review: ‘Bad Moms’ explores the tough side of being a parent
–What does it mean to be a mom? Does it mean you have to be perfect? Is that even possible? You don’t really expect a summer comedy, especially one that revels in its R-rated content, to grapple with these type of questions. But that’s what lies at the heart of “Bad Moms.”
The film is about a group of women who are doing their best to meet the needs of their children, husbands, work and all their other obligations. They’re tired of trying to hold everything together and they just need a little break — then comedy ensues.
Released at the tail end of the summer season, “Bad Moms” is another in the over-the-top-comedy genre that’s a staple of summer. And it’s a movie that succeeds by tapping into a little bit of truth about just how hard it can be to try and balance it all.
The film centers on Amy (Mila Kunis), who tries to do everything for her kids, works in a demanding position at a coffee company and gets little help from her husband Mike (David Walton). She tries to hold everything together, making meals, making phone calls and making PTA meetings. But she’s tired and barely holding it all together.
When Amy discovers her husband is having an online affair, she snaps and boots him out of the house. When she tries to keep everything together the next day despite the dog getting sick and a special PTA meeting being called, Amy finds that it’s not possible to keep up her pace.
Amy finds some friends in Carla (Kathryn Hahn), a single mother done trying to impress people, and Kiki (Kristen Bell), an overburdened stay-at-home mom who needs to learn to stand up for herself. Together the three women decide to let their hair down, have a little fun and leave their responsibilities behind for a while.
Feeling a new sense of empowerment, Amy decides to change up her routine and quit her quest for perfection. That draws the ire of PTA President Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) but the attention of the widowed dad at her kids’ school (Jay Hernandez).
Through it all, Amy, with the help of Carla and Kiki, finds a way to strike a balance between pleasing herself and pleasing others, learning how to better manage the demands on her time along the way.
There are a lot of funny people in this movie, and a lot of outrageous moments. But there’s one moment at the end that really tied the whole thing together for me. Over the closing credits, the primary actresses in the film are interviewed with their own mothers. Through it all they talk about wild times during their childhood and just how challenging it can be to be a good parent.
That is what makes the movie stand out to me — its heart of this subject. In the end, this isn’t just a wild comedy, it’s a movie about trying to find a balance in life — something that’s often sorely lacking among Americans.
Writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“The Hangover”) know how to tell a wild story and squeeze the most out of outrageous situations. “Bad Moms” does that well. But there’s also heart in this film, and some truth. To me, that’s what makes it more interesting and engaging.
This isn’t a tender, feel-good story. It’s a funny movie that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to raunchy comedy. But it’s also got an interesting story to tell, which keeps you hooked for 101 minutes.
“Bad Moms” has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content. Enter with caution.
Three stars out of four.
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