Here’s a spoiler for you – even great mothers are Bad Moms, and that’s what makes this movie a hoot and a half.
Being a great mom is hard. Amy (Mila Kunis, Jupiter Ascending (2015)) is a modern woman who tries to do it all. She works part time at a job that doesn’t appreciate her, her husband takes her for granted, and her kids only see her a a chauffeur, maid and chef. She loves what she does, even if it doesn’t lover her back.
Amy makes mistakes. It happens because she’s human and not a Stepford Wife.
When her already hectic life is thrown in to utter chaos she finds herself on the verge of single motherhood and absolutely cannot do it all.
She meets two other moms living on the very fringes of “socially acceptable” mom behavior. Kiki (Kristen Bell, The Boss (2016)) is a stay at home mom creeping into psychosis due to her complete isolation from other adults. Carla (Kathryn Hahn, The Visit (2015)) resides on the other end of the spectrum -loud, uncultured, and unrepentant. The trio is a collective of everything wrong with how modern times view what it is to be a mother. The constant is the lack of support of the men in their lives – Kiki’s husband is a domineering dictator and Carla’s is absent. Amy’s husband checked out emotionally and sees Amy as a second mother.
It’s more than enough for Amy. She stops helicoptering and coddling and being the safety net her kids don’t know they don’t need. She allows herself to step back and not bake the things or write the papers or even make the lunches. She allows herself to be more than a mom. She allows herself to be attractive and attracting, and it’s hard.
Amy loves being a mom but she hates the expectations of a job and a clean house and perfect kids and a perfect marriage. She hates that no matter how hard she tries, it never seems to be enough for anyone. Nothing she does is bad irresponsible (despite the lousy trailers to this movie), it’s just not acceptable.
Her kids (Oona Laurence Lamb, Emjay Anthony, Krampus (2015)) resent the heck out of this new mom. They’ve also been raised on the Internet and television and Mom is the beginning and end of their world. She’s the cause of all of the good things and the blame for everything that goes wrong.
And then we have the Good Widower Jessie – single, doting dad, great kid, and handsome. He’s another piece of the puzzle Amy needs to put her life back together and he could be very, very good for her.
The PTA is run with an iron fist by Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), and her cadre of cliquish cronies (Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo). Gwendolyn takes it as a personal affront to her authority when Amy brings store bought treats to the bake sale. Amy’s rebellion has consequences that affect not only Amy’s job and her standing withing the school community, but her relationship with her kids. Gwendolyn takes it too far when she target’s Amy’s youngest, and then you see the claws come out. Amy doesn’t care what people think of her or her own social troika, but going after kids to keep parents in check crosses a line everyone can identify with.
Amy, Kiki, and Carla embrace their differences and flaws and of course learn from each other. On the surface, it seems sappy. Then there’s a scene where Carla demonstrates to Amy how to handle an uncut penis (it took me 10 minutes to type that) using Kiki and a hoodie, and it’s not raunchy. This isn’t just another girly buddy movie.
There were sex jokes that were funny and scenes that made you laugh and cringe (because you’ve been there) A rousing speech at the end about making mistakes and being moms and the wonderfully terrifying journey they’re all taking together is familiar, but let’s give it a pass.
Screenwriters/directors, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (both of The Hangover franchise) make Bad Moms less about the vulgar and more about the bawdy expression of adulting. Sex and humor, regardless of gender, is a touching, embarrassing topic that when not sinking to the gutter is relatable to just about everyone.
I screened Bad Moms at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, and was treated to a special event of wine and comfortable chairs. The audience was excited to see moms (just like some of them) find a way to do it all without being perfect every moment. We all had a good time, giggled to our neighbors and cheered.
This is a fun movie worth seeing with your best friends, maybe while skipping that PTA meeting or letting your kids do their own homework for a change. Hit your local cinema, grab some wine and go have a good time.
That directive also applies to Fur Moms, all Dads, and Friends of Moms and Dads. This is a judge-free zone.
Bad Moms is rated R sexual material (so.many.jokes), full frontal nudity (which happens at the beginning and then never again), language throughout (all the effs), and drug and alcohol content – mostly wine and shots.