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Monday, August 22, 2016

Bad Moms Review

Moms Just Wanna Have Fun

"Bad Moms" begins with an aerial shot of storybook perfect suburbia. We meet frazzled mom of two, Amy (Mila Kunis), who has spread herself much too thin. She works part-time at a coffee company start-up, where at 32 years old, she is considered ancient. She must be at all extracurricular activities to support her children, attend PTA meetings and do everything around the house because her man-child husband (David Walton) simply can't handle adulthood.

That's what writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore put forth as our expectations for mothers. They are expected to do everything. Lucas and Moore also want us to know, they like to have a bit of fun, as well. Amy has had enough of being expected to be the perfect mom. She's not a perfect mom - no one is. She kicks her Internet-companion-seeking husband out and is ready to live her life as her own person. She befriends two other moms at school - the timid Kiki (Kristen Bell) and the wild Carla (Kathryn Hahn). They enjoy drinks, midday shopping and movies, and the occasional brunch together. Dammit, enough! They don't have to be perfect.     

Not everyone agrees with Amy's philosophy on motherhood. She is challenged by the tyrannical PTA president, Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), who somehow runs the school (it's a bit of a comedic stretch to have an all-powerful PTA president dictating how the school runs). It's time to dethrone Gwendolyn, so Amy decides to run for president.

"Bad Moms" features several big laughs but rides primarily on the charm and camaraderie of Kunis, Bell and Hahn. Even when all of the characters - men and women alike - are thinly drawn stereotypes, each actor breathes new life into them. Kunis does some of her best comedic work as Amy, getting a bigger arc than she does in her other movies. Bell brings a new, weird energy than we are used to from her. Hahn is fierce and funny, stealing a lot of the scenes, and adding layers to a seemingly one-note character.

There are jarring tonal shifts in Lucas and Moore's (who also wrote "The Hangover") screenplay, which add wrenches into its bubbly tone. But "Bad Moms" offers enough laughs and insightful views on modern parenting to make it a fun, raunchy trip to the movies.

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