Culver City Observer -

MOVIE REVIEW: BAD MOMS

 

September 15, 2016

Holy mother of God! You won't believe your eyes and ears when you watch BAD MOMS! It's moms-behaving-badly in this raunchy, riotous ridiculum of side-splitting hilarity. And although not a perfect film, it is the perfect antidote for a case of the mid-summer doldrums or whatever ails you.

Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn star as our seemingly less than perfect "bad" moms - Amy, Kiki and Carla, respectively - who are trying to do it all but sometimes fall a bit short, while Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo - Gwendolyn, Stacy and Vicky respectively - are the moms who "have it all." And while Jada Pinkett Smith is either woefully miscast or woefully underwritten (or both), any character or performance shortcomings within the film as a whole are overcome by the shear brilliance of Kathryn Hahn.

As Amy, Kunis serves as our entre into the world of soccer moms and domesticity as she tries to balance work, home, kids, carpool and pets while stay at home husband Mike does pretty much little to nothing. When Amy catches Mike doing untoward things during what she learns is a one-year online affair, Mike is kicked out of the house, now leaving everything to Amy without even help for an occasional carpool or taking out the trash. Making the situation worse are the "Stepford Moms", Gwendolyn, Stacy and Vicky, who rule the school with an iron fist, controlling the PTA, the students, the moms and the teachers.

But one night, after a more than harried day, compounded by upper echelon stupidity at her hipster coffee manufacturer, Amy snaps. And the straw that breaks the camel's proverbial back? Another demand by Gwendolyn at an "emergency" powerpoint driven PTA meeting to discuss her mandates for the bake sale. With one simple "no", Amy starts a movement which is quickly joined by stay-at-home, sweet as apple pie mom Kiki (and folks, take note of the necklace worn by Kristen Bell in the film; it was made by her own daughter), followed by life-of-the-party divorcee Carla hot on the trail of any good looking man out there.

So what do three "bad moms" do to commiserate? Have a night out in the local bar and get totally trashed, prompting them to make a late night run to the local supermarket, showcased in a slo-motion montage that will go down in the annals of cinema as one of the funniest ever. And again, Hahn is the one to watch as she steals the entire sequence.

Walking away from "mom" duties and leaving their kids to their own devices (or a husband in Kiki's case), our three heroines are now meeting up daily for brunch, shopping and movies, not to mention helping Amy get hooked up with the hottest single dad on campus, Jessie. And rivaling the supermarket antics for funny, get ready for non-stop laughter with the girls as they dress Amy for a night out on the town while giving her dating instructions, including the benefits and drawbacks of an uncircumcised penis.

Adding to the hilarious hijinks are pending PTA elections which pit Gwendolyn against Amy and an election party showdown with the prim and proper Gwendolyn and hostess with the mostest Martha Stewart against the Caligulan bacchanalia of Amy, Kiki and Carla.

Stand out is young Oona Lawrence as Amy's daughter Jane. Take note of Oona because you're about to see a lot more of her in the coming weeks in "Pete's Dragon." David Walton adds the perfect comedic vibe as Mike while Jay Hernandez brings more than enough man candy for the masses. Nice turn is Wendell Pierce as Principal Burr. Watching him go toe-to-toe with Applegate's Gwendolyn is delicious. And then there's a too brief appearance by Wanda Sykes as a marriage counselor trying to "save" Amy and Mike's marriage. Side-splitting!

Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the boys are no strangers to bawdy bad behavior given they are the brains behind "The Hangover" franchise and "21 & Over", but with BAD MOMS move from bachelor parties and collegiate pranks to women behaving like women. . .but with a little exaggeration and a lot of appreciation for all that moms do. Cinematographer Jim Denault who dazzled us with period perfection in "Trumbo", delivers a light, bright visual tonal bandwidth that is welcoming and embracing to the comedy at play.

Although there are some shortcomings with over-used antics that at this point in time feel out-dated and the abysmally unfunny Smith, the funny stays fresh thanks to Hahn and the chemistry between the girls.

BAD MOMS are so bad they're grrrrrreat!

Written and Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith

 

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