Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Movie Review #464: "Bad Moms" (2016)

Movie"Bad Moms"
Director: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
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Overloaded with work, PTA Meetings, running her kids around to their countless after school activities, a sick dog, and a man-child for a husband, Amy (Mila Kunis) is done trying to be supermom. She decides she is going to stop doing what others want and stop caring what other moms think and start living for herself.

"Bad Moms" is written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, whose only previous directed feature is "21 & Over." This duo is best known for being the writers of the wildly successful comedy "The Hangover." The film revolves around Amy, played by Mila Kunis, who after one of the worst days in recent memory gets fed up with attempting to have the perfect life and quits trying to be supermom. Joining her in her quest for freedom are Carla, played by Kathryn Hahn, a single mom who is overtly and overly sexual and lives a promiscuous party-hard lifestyle, and Kiki, played by Kristen Bell, a stay-at-home mother of four who has no friends and a controlling husband. These three women cast off the shackles of motherhood after finding each other one night. They begin drinking, then have an extremely raucous time at the local grocery store to let off some steam. This is one of the best scenes in the film as we watch these three adult women act like teenagers running around a grocery store mixing vodka with chocolate syrup and milk, shaking it up and drinking it open-mouthed in aisle 10. They sell this scene, as well as their entire relationship with one another, pretty darn well. Kunis, Hahn, and Bell feel like a group of women that could actually be friends and relate to each other on some level as mothers. Bell is our favorite character because she gets the chance to see a full transformation from timid, shy housewife to boss ass bitch. Hahn gets her chance to shine as a major character here, too, and though BigJ feels like her shtick is a bit too over the top, I really liked her brash, out there personality complete with sexual jokes and foul language.

When Amy shows up to the bake sale the next day with store bought donut holes, she catches the ire of PTA president Gwendolyn James, played by Christina Applegate, a micro-managing busy body and judgy-wudgy, holier than though, shit-talking mom who wants to control every aspect of everyone's life. Gwendolyn makes it her mission to put Amy back in line by destroying the lives of her children in the process. The second the character of Gwendolyn is introduced, we absolutely hate her and her two little spineless toadies Stacy and Vicky, played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo. This group of mean-spirited, bitchy women have just about zero redeeming qualities, so in that respect, "Bad Moms" sure gives you antagonists you can truly hate. In retaliation, Amy runs for PTA president in order to seize control from this power-hungry asshole of a person. This is where "Bad Moms" starts to go off the rails a little bit. In an effort to get to know the other moms from the school, Amy hosts a meet-and-greet at her house, which quickly turns into a booze-infested college-esque rager complete with impromptu speeches, lesbian kisses, whippets, and Martha Stewart. Everything after this moment feels rushed to get to some big, dramatic ending point, and though we can identify what the overall sentiment is and that it is important, this conclusion wraps up a little too neatly and quickly for our liking, which makes it all the more unbelievable.

There are a few sparse laughs in "Bad Moms," but a lot of what it does content wise we've seen hundreds of times before in other, better comedy movies. This is as formulaic as it gets when it comes to 'get loose, let wild' comedies, complete with an introduction of how rough life can be, a middle section full of crazy parties and unrestrained fun while everything is going great, then a conflict leading to a rough patch where everyone dumps on our protagonist, and finally, the timely redemption and ultimate conclusion. The film doesn't really offer anything new. There are some jokes that are downright cringe-worthy and others which feel stolen from other films. The biggest laughs come from scenes already divulged in the trailer. STX, babes, you need better trailer-cutters, the people currently fitting the bill are giving away the best parts to all of your films! There's nothing so horrible about this film we hated ourselves for seeing it, but there's also nothing so great that we were happy we saw it, either. In the end, we appreciate the mom-centric twist on the raunchy, R-rated comedy and how it brings together a group of women as its protagonists, but with more flaws than notable strengths, "Bad Moms" can't shake the feeling that it's trying really hard to be "The Hangover," but with women. We would have like a little bit of a tighter story, better execution, and less choppy editing. This is not a film you need to see in the theater, but it's certainly worth a rental.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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