Bad Moms

 

starHalf



Maternal instincts are momentarily put on hold in this manipulative, formulaic and 

predictable quick-buck comedy.

 
Bad Moms

Women behaving badly: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn

 

It was George Bernard Shaw who said, “there should be no mothers, only women.” It’s a sentiment that would appeal to Amy Mitchell, an Illinois mom who is not only the functioning engine of a specialist coffee company, but who is raising two kids (a boy and girl, naturally), ferrying them from piano lessons to soccer practice, attending innumerable PTA meetings and fulfilling all the duties that her maternal status demands – while still managing to look like Mila Kunis. It’s an impossible job and as Amy admits in her voice-over, the only thing that she’s good at is “always being late.” Then, one day, she decides that she’s had enough…

 

Now, Bad Boys was slick and dynamic, Bad Santa was wickedly funny and even Bad Teacher had its choice comic moments. Bad Moms, however, is something else. There’s a computer software called SitCommence in which you simply type in the main constituents of your idea and through a simple algorithm it churns out a situation comedy of your bidding. Without you having to connect two brain cells, it will introduce a scene of your main characters walking towards the camera in slow motion, sprinkle the text with well-timed pratfalls, litter the narrative with chart-topping pop songs and provide enough dick jokes to baffle a schoolboy. If the software doesn’t exist, it certainly feels like it after sitting through the recent plethora of so-called ‘adult’ comedies from Hollywood.

 

There is something deeply depressing in reducing women to alcohol-guzzling, penis-obsessed caricatures. Yet Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's Bad Moms is not only demeaning but attempts to scoff its cake, as well. That is, it chugs along in two gears: the crude and the maudlin. The score by Christopher Lennertz not only prompts us when to laugh but when to shed a tear. It’s a manipulative, formulaic and predictable quick-buck comedy that is as profound as a bumper sticker. The only line in the movie that sounds a credible note is when Amy admits, “it’s impossible to be a good mom.”

 

Had the whole thing been played as tragedy, it would have been a lot funnier.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Mumolo, Jay Hernandez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Christina Applegate, Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, Wendell Pierce, David Walton, Megan Ferguson, Wanda Sykes, Clark Duke, Martha Stewart (as herself), and the moms of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith and Christina Applegate.

 

Dir Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Pro Bill Block and Suzanne Todd, Screenplay Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Ph Jim Denault, Pro Des Marcia Hinds, Ed Emma E. Hickox and James Thomas, Music Christopher Lennertz, Costumes Julia Caston.

 

Huayi Brothers Pictures/Bill Block Media/Suzanne Todd Productions-Entertainment Film Distributors. 

100 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 24 August 2016. Cert. 15.