film reel image

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Bad Moms 2016 * * * Stars

Bad MomsDirectors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate

In Bad Moms (my latest review), Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, and Christina Applegate are perfectly realized as characters. Hahn is a comic force of nature playing single mom Carla. She is for lack of a better word, a promiscuous potty mouth (not to mention the definition of a female Rob Corddry). Bell is spot-on as Kiki, a dorky, socially inept mother of four. Finally, Applegate is pure evil as Gwendolyn, the antagonistic head master of the PTA (you know, the parent-teacher association).

Anyway, "Moms" feeling like Bridesmaids meets 1999's Office Space, is the most surprising release of 2016. It starts off as a family comedy only to descend into massive F-bombs, fierce sexual innuendo, conversations about circumcision, and a reference to Fifty Shades of Grey. Translation: It's funny as heck. Yeah it's an R-rated vehicle that takes place in a middle school. Yeah it has child actors in many a frame. And yes, it deals with uncomfortable themes of midlife crisis parenting. No matter. Bad Moms combines the sweet, the moral, and the raunchy all in one fell swoop. "Mother did it need to be so (pause) high?" Natch.

Now in normal fashion, I viewed its cliched trailer recently on YouTube with some of the comments almost making sense (one YouTube viewer actually predicted that it would be quote unquote, "complete trash"). Boy was I wrong after attending a midday screening. "Moms" tries to provide you with a hearty laugh in almost every scene. It succeeds about 90% of the time so no complaints here.

Taking place in Chicago for the umpteenth time (what movie doesn't take place in the "Windy City" these days), containing a feel-good ending, and featuring a left field cameo by Martha Stewart (she makes everyone jello shots with vodka, nice), Bad Moms chronicles young and exhausted mother, Amy Mitchell (played by Mila Kunis). Amy has two kids and takes care of them like no one's business. She cooks, cleans, and even works at a coffee company while her husband sits on his butt doing nothing (I guess he has a job but said job doesn't entail too much). Pissed off and fed up, Amy has a meltdown at a PTA meeting and quits to the chagrin of Applegate's Gwendolyn (as mentioned earlier). She then decides to get drunk, have some me time, and join forces with two other moms (Hahn and Bell) in her vicarious plight. They go to the movies during the day, throw a party to get all the other PTA moms on their side, and trash a supermarket without so much as getting arrested. Watch for a sequence where Amy steals her hubby's red Muscle Car and drives like a maniac. Also, look for the reclusive Wanda Sykes in a small role as a jiving marriage counselor to Ames and her worse half (Mike Mitchell played by David Walton).

Bottom line: If you're a working mother or a stay-at-home mom, you'll find this flick quite amusing. You might identify with it or you might not. Either way, Bad Moms with its foul-mouthed dialogue and its ode to most things unladylike, is a "good" movie. Ha-ha get it. Rating: 3 stars.

Of note: During the closing credits for "Moms", we get to see interviews with the stars of the film (Kunis, Hahn, Bell, Applegate, Smith, Annie Mumolo) plus their real-life mothers. Yeah it's kinda weird to view this at the end of something that's equal parts filthy and coarse. Oh well. Like everything else in Bad Moms, it just seems to work. Oh and by the way, these actresses look almost identical to their parental units (especially with regards to Kathryn Hahn).

Written by Jesse Burleson

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