New Sunday, new review. How about some female-driven comedy?
Bad Moms, written/directed by John Lucas and Scott Moore, is like Mean Girls for grown women with a twist of the Hangover films, a hint of White Chicks, and a touch of Sydney White. The story (predictably) revolves around the life of a mother, Amy (Mila Kunis), as she learns that it’s okay not to be the perfect Stepford Mother. She begins the film with what looks like the perfect life – nice house, a job she loves, husband, two kids, an active involvement with the PTA – which then dissolves over the course of the first act. After the day from hell, Amy and two other friends decide that they will stop trying to be perfect and become “bad moms”. Cue adventures getting kicked out of supermarkets, getting the kids takeaways for school lunch, and finally telling her son to do his own homework. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Amy attracts the ire of the PTA head, Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), and then decides to take her on in the PTA elections. Mom parties, sabotage, and an unnecessary romantic subplot pave the way to a rather predictable finale.
I know I mentioned a few negative points in that last sentence but I genuinely enjoyed the film. The lead character was easy to empathise with, the jokes were actually funny, and it didn’t follow all of the expected conventions. Bad Moms was a genuine comedy – not a romcom! I would (rather unhappily) admit that this is probably more of a women’s film than universal comedy because the humour is so female-centric but, as a member of the target audience, I spent most of the film grinning.
A piece of advice that I would offer is that you don’t watch the film next to your parent/older relative. Most of the film is fine but there is one particular scene that I had to try very hard not to laugh too hard at. Honestly, it was worse than the dildo/head-giving scene in White Chicks. The rest of the film is pretty tame. I mean, there’s a lot of alcohol and a character that makes jokes about sex in every second line but… It’s an aged up Mean Girls so there’s nothing else too eyebrow-raising.
I do have one big problem with the film that annoyed me more than the whiney daughter and useless son. Bad Moms seemed to have a problem with half-baked plots. There were a number of threads that were started, felt like they would carry on throughout, and then would abruptly stop. The storyline between Amy and her husband was one of these. Although I appreciated the break from convention and the reasonably amiable finish between them, it wasn’t satisfying for the audience. Admittedly, these random stop-start threads weren’t nearly as common/twisted as those in Suicide Squad (different genre, same problem done far, far worse). This didn’t make them any less frustrating as someone who likes smooth narrative arcs.
The unnecessary romantic subplot was another of these threads. The object of affection would pop-up now and again, remind you he was there, and then disappear again. And then suddenly it’s a full blown relationship. 0-500 in two seconds. Urgh! Even worse, Bad Moms had been doing so well at being a female-centric comedy that was fully about women and then they ruined it by rushing the relationship in. Why does every good female-driven comedy do this? If it’s meant to be a romcom then I’ll accept it but if you’ve written a straight comedy, is it necessary? I know so many male-driven comedies without a romantic subplot but can’t name a female-driven one without a love interest. Believe me when I say that I love romantic subplots – usually I’m the first to say I want one – but I don’t like them to be shoved in where they’re not needed. Notice the lack of romantic subplot space in my summary? That’s because there was no need for it in Bad Moms at all.
Ignoring the forced romance, I love the film. Bad Moms is pretty predictable but that makes it an easy watch and the characters are easy to imagine being friends with. The plot was reasonably well-paced and there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. I don’t think there is a better summary of how I enjoyed it than saying that it will no doubt end up as part of my DVD collection when it comes out.
*Picture found on stxmovies.com