Written and directed by John Lucas and Scott Moore, who also co-wrote The Hangover trilogy and Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman film The Change-Up, this time tackling a subject they haven’t really focused on before, women or to be more specific, mothers, two men who’ve typically made lad comedies, can they really tackle such a female heavy film? Let’s see. First off there’s the cast; Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate, Annie Mumolo, Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, David Walton, Clark Duke, Jay Hernandez and Jada Pinkett Smith, which can be said is a great start. The plot, fairly self explanatory, three overworked, underappreciated moms decide enough is enough and to ditch the ridiculous expectations that are put on them and actually try to enjoy themselves again.
The mix of women here is such a great thing to watch but Kathryn Hahn has to be singled out as the most hilarious thing in the film, she’s a wonderful actress in general but her comedic timing and delivery is simply perfect, the highlight of the whole film. Kunis as lead is another you can’t really complain about, it’s not a compliment that’s screaming in her favour but this role feels somewhat strange for her, it’s much less glamorous than her usual roles but she adjusts her performance accordingly and is entirely believable, but is left with some of the more predictable humour. Kristen Bell was a pretty dead on choice for the slightly strange and unusual Kiki, her quirky and energetic performance, helped by her constant alert eyes is consistently funny throughout, and quite possibly the character that you’ll sympathise with most. Head of the PTA, Gwendolyn played by Applegate is what would be expected, some great zingers and rather ridiculous behaviour with one hell of a mean streak for a person so heavily involved with the welfare of children, it’s fun to watch but ultimately slightly clichéd. The biggest let down however is how the writers have handled the casting of Jada Pinkett Smith, an actress that could have really added something to this film, reduced to a few lines and little story involvement, she could easily have been removed entirely which is a huge disservice to the actress and a misstep on the part of the writers/directors. Altogether the actresses are good choices but haven’t all been used as well as others.
This year has not been a successful one for the genre of comedy, disappointment has become a running theme and it’s rather disheartening but Bad Moms turns that around, it may not be full of jokes that will have you rolling in the aisles but the humour is very consistent and the laughs do keep coming all throughout. It’s strange to imagine that a group of mums throwing a party and it getting out of hand could be as funny a scene as it actually is, it’s a complete departure from what we would usually see which is refreshingly enjoyable. One of the traps a film like this could fall into is simply stringing together jokes to form a whole film whereas here they do actually manage to employ enough of a story to actually provide a plot that’s not overbearing, still light enough for the genre but enough to keep things moving. The only weak link is the attempt to create a romantic interest between Kunis and Hernandez (Suicide Squad) which is entirely predictable and unnecessary and attempts to add jokes that are much too overused and simply of no value at this point.
This is a film which manages to completely redefine the role given to mothers, and throw out the old, outdated version that we see too often and give us a group of mums that are funny, clever, caring and a little crazy. Being made by two men it does well to relate to women, although it still begs the question of what the film would have looked like having been written by actual mothers. It’s surprisingly funny, doesn’t lead you into the trap of showing all the decent jokes in the trailers then just taking you on a 100 minute journey of boredom, it manages to be humorous all the way through, and though it may not be the funniest thing you’ll see all year (though if the state of comedies doesn’t improve, that could be wrong), it’s a solid comedy. Make sure to stay and watch the during credit interviews between our leading ladies and their own moms, which is entirely heart-warming.