In a world where men seem to dominate the comedy genre, STX Entertainment finds a market for some untapped potential…those who can’t even go to the movies! With all of these “Bad” films coming out (Bad Teacher, Grandpa, Santa, etc.), it was inevitable that this was coming, and none only from the writers of The Hangover. This writing team hasn’t had a solid track record after writing both “The Change-Up” and “21 & Over”, two critically-panned films, so how does Bad Moms compare? More importantly, how does this film portray women, especially considering it’s written and directed by two men. Well, the answer is surprisingly well.
It’s refreshing that in 2016, we can get a film like this that is female led, isn’t afraid to go for the R-rating and features real characters. Of course most of them are exaggerations, but I think Mila Kunis’ character, Amy, will speak to a lot of the moms out there that do the best they can and still feel as though it’s not enough. Amy overworks and receives under appreciation from those around her, until she finally cracks. She’s sick of bullshitting the “perfect housewife” image, she makes it clear that she’s not gonna play this game and to join her are Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), two other moms that plan to overthrow the school’s PTA group led by Christina Applegate’s Gwendolyn. As exciting as that premise sounds, and with a cast as great as this, it’s a shame the movie is not as funny as it could’ve been. Then again, I’m nowhere near this film’s target audience. Moms will L-O-V-E this film and that’s great because it’s tailor-made for them. While I think everyone else will get a decent film with this, most of the humor does rely on you understanding and having been in the situations presented on screen. You don’t have to smoke pot or have a drunken house party to relate to Amy struggling to get off work early to take her kids to soccer practice, or be the “cool mom” and letting her kids play hooky for a day.
That being said, the film unfortunately does have it’s flaws with predictability being one of them. We know exactly where the story will start, and where it’ll finish, and they’re just as “cutesy” and “fake” as you’d expect. It’s disappointing when a movie that has “Bad” in the title decides to wrap everything up at the end in a neat little bow. If you want to be a raunchy, politically-incorrect film you have to stick with it, don’t go all sweet on me. Thankfully, the cast does seem to stick to the script rather than the usual “improv-o-rama” film where scenes go on for too long because everyone tries to stretch out a joke that wasn’t funny to begin with. Bad Moms is fast-paced and tightly edited, it’s a light and breezy runtime clocking in at just barely an hour and forty minutes. Only about half of the jokes landed for me, but Kathryn Hahn’s character put a smile on my face the entire time. She got a good amount of belly laughs out of me to where I didn’t feel cheated.
The most shocking thing about Bad Moms isn’t it’s sense of humor, it’s the surprising amount of genuine heart it has. This wasn’t a studio pandering to women in order to steal their money, you can tell this came from people who wanted to please all the Moms out there with a movie they can call their own. It’s not for everyone, but I think this is really going to resonate with it’s target audience and for them I say call the babysitter and have a fun night out to yourselves. You deserve it more than anyone. As for everyone else, a sufficient rental will do.