Bad Moms

bad moms 2016

Bad Moms [2016] is the raunchy comedy for all the mothers who just can’t catch a break. This latest R-rated summer laugh-fest tells the story of a suburban mom who, despite her unwavering efforts to balance her fragile family life, is always left holding the short end of the stick. Bad Moms stars Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, and Jada Pinkett Smith; and is directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.

Girls rule: Demonstrating to a much funnier degree than July’s other female-dominated film (hint: it rhymes with roast dusters), Bad Moms is a total riot from start to finish. What it lacks in storytelling prowess, it makes up in droves on the powerhouse gut-busting performances of Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell. This is not to say Mila Kunis is not funny. In fact, she herself gets many moments to make us burst into laughter. That being said, Hahn, in particular, infuses total relish into every line, transcending what could have been throwaway gross-out gags into hilariously relatable rants and memorable quickfire dialogue. Filling their antagonistic roles with particular gusto, Christina Applegate and Jada Pinkett Smith both represent the non-existent “perfect moms” counterpoint to Kunis’, Hahn’s, and Bell’s “bad moms.”

You have no power over me: As a statement on both motherhood and feminism, Bad Moms hits both its marks. The film gives a determined middle-finger to slut-shaming and a delightfully funny response to gender roles. As with Ghostbusters, most men in this film are portrayed as incompetent, misogynistic, shallow, or just plain stupid. Some may take issue with this, but in response, I will defer to every raunchy male-dominated comedy in which women have been reduced to sexist stereotypes and male-pleasing nudity. In the long run, a more equality-driven approach to cinema may be better, but for now, women have more than earned a laugh at the expense of insecure “meninists” and misogynists.

The Shallows: On this point, Bad Moms finds a significant dip in quality. The storytelling is serviceably entertaining at its best and disappointingly sloppy at its worst. The film thrives on its humor and relatability, but when it attempts to get serious, the tonal shift feels not only forced, but jarring. Even worse, these scenes bring the film’s rapid paced humor to a screeching and jolting halt. Random in nature and degrading to the story structure, these scenes fail to inspire any real emotional reaction because of not only their uncommitted briefness but also for their confusing placement within the script. In the end, the film ends on a sour note. Suffice it to say that the worst endings are the ones where every side plot resolves itself without outside influence.

A flawed but hilarious summer movie:  Whether you’re a mother, a single man, a single woman, Bad Moms will definitely make you laugh, even if not leaving you totally fulfilled. It is a shame that the writing, which was so bitingly sharp on the dialogue wasn’t nearly as much so on things like pacing and story structure. Regardless, I recommend Bad Moms and story aside, it is the funniest film I have seen this year thus far.

Boasting sharp dialogue and hilarious performances from its female cast, Bad Moms is a vulgar summer comedy that brings the laughs, even if not much else.