Directed by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Jay Hernandez, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith
Motherhood involves plenty of unappreciated work. Whether it be from gender norms or societal expectations, it always seems mothers have to do all of the hard work with children and still show up to work and be a great employee. Any cracks in their foundation then proves that they care more about any ancillary issue than their child. It’s unfair and the women of Bad Moms rightfully push against it in wonderfully comedic ways.
After kicking her husband out of the house, Amy (Mila Kunis) tries to do it all for her kids by making healthy lunches, doing their homework, providing monetarily, and getting involved with the PTA. She decides that she’s done with it and meets equally unhappy mothers, Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn). Together they learn that they can brush off norms and be “bad moms.”
Obviously, I have never been a mother but I have seen the pressures bestowed upon them when observing my own mother. She had to do everything from working to making sure she gets home to make dinner for us all. Everything she did rarely came without a “thank you” in return. That’s what makes Bad Moms something so fun to enjoy, as these women completely let loose. The comedy comes from looking at their behavior from the outside seeing they’re pretty tame, but it’s the norms and its upholders that see them as monsters. It makes the villainous role of Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) all the more wicked.
Her character happens to be the PTA president and she runs that ship like it’s a business ensuring moms show up to the meetings and having exorbitant demands of their time. She rules with fear the same way a dictator would and that exaggerated representation of this character symbolizes the pressures these mothers fight against. It’s evident that if anyone does not follow the example set by Gwendolyn, they would be labeled as a bad mother, especially if they dare to bring any store-bought products to the bake sale. This character does go off the deep end towards the climax of the film with her villainous behavior, but Christina Applegate provides that venom in spades. With just a smile, you can easily see that it’s to distract from the daggers coming from her eyes.
The three protagonist mothers all get portrayed by some great female actors. After watching her stunning performance in Private Life, I almost forgot just how funny Kathryn Hahn can be when doing comedic roles. She portrays a mother that seems neglectful of her child but is still very sexually active. Kristen Bell lives as a stay at home mom with a husband that does not assist her in any way when he gets home. They join Amy in their pursuits to not give a toss anymore about these standards they need to live up to. The three characters have huge differences in personality but can still completely relate to each other’s struggles because this pressure hits all of them in similar ways. Each of the actors brings their style of comedy, which has made them known and they help deliver on those outrageous moments of letting loose.
With the film trying to be a raunchy comedy, it really sells its message well and the resolution makes sense for each of the characters. Aspects of their motherhood kept them down and they needed to learn that they could mess up at times and divert away from the “model” mother. In the case of Amy, she needs to learn that her kids are fine if she’s not perfect in every single way. All she had to do is be a supportive mother to them and meet each kid where they are developmentally. Kiki needs to learn to be more assertive with her husband and that raising children cannot solely be one parent’s job. Carla simply needs to just pay more attention to her kid.
The comedy comes together well, the moments of catharsis for these women allow for an exuberance that jumps from the screen. It has a delightful amount of cameos with celebrities. Bad Moms focuses on the story, the whims, and desires of these women, and it peered into a level of frustration that does not get tapped into nearly enough because of the societal pressures placed upon them. This film lets them vent and scream, which provides its own form of entertainment.