The stresses of parenthood get to be too much for mothers Amy (Kunis), Carla (Hahn), and Kiki (Bell). So the trio decide to let loose and have fun with their lives instead, abandoning their jobs and getting wasted every night, much to the distress of their husbands and particularly to PTA president Gwendolyn (Applegate). Is their new lifestyle sustainable?
You know a movie is bad when it’s supposed to be a comedy but its first dozen or so jokes (which include Kunis spilling various foods and drink on herself, because apparently that’s really funny) leave the audience in deathly silence. You also know a movie is bad when it’s so predictable, it becomes a labour to watch, and when even at an hour forty minutes in running length, it feels like a lifetime.
Kunis’ character Amy is one that is all-too-familiar to us. She is a mother who struggles to balance her life of working with an incompetent staff, doing school runs and drop offs to extra-curricular activities, groceries, and squeezing some form of exercise in between. The husband (played by New Girl’s David Walton) is no help at all. You know the drill. But does it make you feel any kind of sympathetic connection whatsoever to the character? No. Because she’s two-dimensional, dull, and Kunis’ acting is about as deep as a sheet of paper. And she has the vast majority of screen time. Fun.
Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell round off the three leading moms whose friendship is pivotal to the narrative. Apparently, these women are so dull and unlikeable that they have no other friends before they meet one another in a bar but we are expected to like them. At that, perhaps I’m being a little harsh, for Hahn (who was also great in Step Brothers and We’re the Millers) and Bell (Anna from Frozen, obviously) do bring some funny moments to the film. In fact, they’re the only reason this film even gets a star. While Hahn’s turn as Carla can feel forced, she does generate laughs – this actress needs her own movie already with a proper script. The facial reactions of Bell, whose character is the most uptight and conservative of the three, also brings some desperately needed humour. As for Applegate, she is disappointingly unfunny.
I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea to assign Jon Lucas and Scott Moore – whose credits include The Hangover trilogy and The Change-Up – to write and direct a comedy about women. According to this movie, when women get drunk, they make life-changing decisions and establish lifelong friendships. Also, men are the worst. Unless they’re hot and single fathers. Because, you know, this movie is from the perspective of women. The remainder of the supporting cast members are also insultingly stereotypical and formulaic.
Bad Moms is basically playing on this contemporary idea of ‘Hey, we may be middle-aged but we can party too’ capitalised in movies like Bad Neighbours, Sisters, and the upcoming Office Christmas Party. Capitalised is the key word here – these movies make money. But at this point they’re just being churned out with the most menial of efforts being put into their writing. Movie goers deserve better than this rubbish.
In summary: Bad Moms, Bad Movie.