Bad Moms: Caricatures & Cliches Undermine Giddy, Giggly Fun
With more testosterone-fuelled movies like The Hangover and The Change-Up safely under their belt, screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore return to the big-screen with a slightly different kind of comedy. Featuring three stay-at-home mothers who decide to rebel against the system as a result of being tired and overworked, Bad Moms is an occasionally funny story to sit through, though its reliance on a painfully formulaic setup thwarts the movie from making any kind of lasting impression.
The story is cantered on Amy Mitchell (Kunis); a young mother of two struggling to handle the responsibilities of her daily life. Constantly late to everything, Amy – who has recently kicked her husband, Mike (Walton) out of the house due to infidelity – finally reaches her boiling point and decides to take a step back from her domestic demands and just quits trying to be the perfect mom.
Making friends with sex-crazed single mum Carla (Hahn) and insecure mother-of-four, Kiki (Bell), Amy soon realises that she has forgotten how to have fun, indulging herself in a lot of drinking and lots of flirting with hot widower, Jessie (Hernandez). Her newly-found freedom, however, soon angers PTA Queen-bee, Gwendolyn Jones (Applegate), and her loyal minions, Stacy (Pinkett-Smith) and Vicky (Mumolo), when Amy decides to run against Gwendolyn in the upcoming PTA elections.
It’s a shame to see Lucas and Moore resort to such a formulaic storytelling approach, failing, often drastically, to bring any fresh humour or even awareness to modern-day motherhood. Filled with plenty of foul language (for the sake of foul language it seems) and overly-forced sexual humour, the script undermines any kind of statement that the film tries to makes, with the uncircumcised penis monologue the girls have before a night standing as one of the more disturbing moments.
Despite there being plenty of eye-rolling moments, the chemistry between the three main characters is evident and they manage to play off each other wonderfully throughout, with Kunis – although a little too put-together for a supposedly overworked mom – coming out as the strongest of the pack. Meanwhile, the men in their lives are all walking clichés, subjects of predictable writing and are either given very little to do or not given enough screen time to do it.
Unsurprising and largely conventional, though at times funny, Bad Moms tries a little too hard to please and if it wasn’t for such lazy writing, this could have been one of the most enjoyable R-rated comedies of the year. But, it isn’t.