“Love is Stronger than Space”
The above , erm, ‘profound’ quotation is one of the standout quotes from the film – uttered within a space-set romance parody movie that the lead trio are watching whilst revelling in their new found role of ‘bad moms’. It’s a line that is hilarious in its nonsensicality along with the reactions of the women – talking about their ‘lady boners’. It’s one of many hilarious moments within a film that is far funnier than expected and well worth a watch.
Amy (Kunis) is essentially a mother to three children – two preteens and her husband, a man who describes two conference calls in one day as ‘exhausting’. Amy just wants to be a good mum and does everything she can for her family – along with working part-time she is a taxi driver for her children and their extraordinary amount of extracurriculars, doing all the housework and cooking, she also has an active role within the school’s PTA (parent teacher association). She’s overworked, overcommitted and severely under appreciated. She’s close to breaking point when she meets stay-at-home mum Kiki (Bell) and single mum Carla (Hahn) who both feel equally discontented. They decide to rebel and become ‘Bad Moms’ – much to the disapproval of PTA president Gwendolyne (Applegate) who will do anything and everything to get Amy back under order.
Bad Moms, unlike its characters, doesn’t try to reinvent the rulebook. Storytelling-wise it follows a path with few unexpected twists or surprises and yet it manages to be a path which is utterly hilarious and a real joy to ride along on. This is down to two really successful ingredients – a script which is the right level of filth, gags laden with pathos along with some excellent guffaw-inducing one liners and a fantastically talented cast.
What really needs to happen with these kind of films is the depiction of a group you would want to be a part of, something which really happens here. Watching the central three (Kunis-Bell-Hahn) you get the sense of a true and caring friendship which both supports and allows them to poke fun at each other. I now also desperately want to go on a night out with the three of them… Kunis does an excellent job in portraying the undervalued Amy, even if she never looks as exhausted as she claims, working well as a counterpart to the brilliantly strange Kiki, portraying a role we’ve not really seen Bell in before. It’s Hahn who has to be the film’s MVP though, stealing almost every scene as laid back Carla.
Her delivery of lines such as “Oh hey I know you. You’re that chick that always picks up my kid from school when I forget-slash-don’t want to.” is so dry, deadpan and downright droll. She leads the way in the film’s most memorable moments – a supermarket sweep unlike any we’ve seen before and a discussion over male anatomy explained with the use of a hoodie as a prop – sequences which I defy anyone not to laugh themselves silly whilst watching.
Applegate does well as the domineering antagonist and is very well supported by cronies Pinkett-Smith and Mumolo, although the dynamics between the rival trios occasionally feel too simplistic and reminiscent of movies of the High School persuasion. Nevertheless the tension between them works and allows for some examination of the ‘Perfect Mother’ myth, although this ends up being rather superficial and nowhere near as satirical as it could have been.
Bad Moms ended up being a joyous surprise which passed the six laugh test in the first six minutes. It’s filthy, funny with a bit of an edge – perfect for a night out.
Dir:Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Scr: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Prd: Bill Block and Suzanne Todd
DOP: Jim Denault
Music: Christopher Lennertz
Run time: 100 Minutes
Bad Moms is in UK cinemas now.