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Bad Moms — Are They Bad Moms or Women With Kids Trying Their Best?

Jane Nosonchuk

Most kids think their mother is the best person on earth.  Teenagers might say differently, but really, mom is their rock.  Then, who decides that a mom is good or bad?  Perhaps society and the media have made moms feel the need to be unrealistically perfect. Perfect employees, perfect spouses, perfect homemakers, and perfect mothers.  Mila Kunis plays, Amy, the perfect mom who finds out that being perfect is impossible. With the help of fellow imperfect mom-friends, she discovers that her own happiness is required in order to be a good mom and that “bad” is in the eye of the beholder.  My rating:  $7.00 (1.-10.).

Amy (Kunis), at 32 years-old, is the oldest employee of a coffee start-up run by “kids” who do things like take sick days to mourn John Snow’s death in ‘Game of Thrones’.  Amy is a woman driven to be all things to all people.  She makes a full breakfast every day for husband and kids, does homework with (or for) her kids, takes them to school, goes to work, grocery shops, cooks a meal nightly, and makes sure her family always has a clean, welcoming home. No fun really.

When things fall apart, Amy is stunned.  It takes the help of a few friends to help her step back and discover that she lost herself along the way.

Katherine Hahn (‘Parks and Recreation’/‘Transparent’/‘The Visit’) plays, Carla, the trashy mom who makes suggestive remarks to dads dropping their kids off in the morning.  She knows the perfect moms look down on her and she embraces it.  Her clothes are flashy and makeup obvious. Hahn is probably the funniest thing in ‘Bad Moms’.

Eventually, she is joined in more frank observations of life by Amy and their new friend, Kiki (Kristen Bell).  Kiki is the lonely stay-at-home mom of four kids under age 5.  She’s much too busy to get out of her sweats or wear makeup.  Husband, Kent (Lyle Brocato – ‘The Big Short’), feels a duty to make sure Kiki fulfills her role at home and Kiki buys it.  Bell is always perfect as the girl next-door.  Those big blue eyes suck us in right before she says the most irreverent things.

The ruling moms of the PTA are headed by Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Vicky (Annie Mumolo – ‘The Boss’).  Gwen is the wealthy one who uses blackmail and bullying tactics to keep all the mothers and even the school staff in line — all in a beautifully wrapped, blonde, couture wrapper.  Pinkett Smith looks great but really only has about a dozen lines.  Mumulo plays the gullible one of the group who doesn’t understand Gwen all the time, but wants to belong.  She has some great lines that are said with such absolute innocence that she totally sets up Applegate’s frustrated, but hilarious, retorts.

Now, I love Mila Kunis.  Therefore, I forgave her ridiculous forays into dating and attempts at changing her life that lead to partying at bars, drinking at all hours, and leaving the kids to their own devices without warning.  Adorable, 13 year-old Oona Laurence (‘Southpaw’), plays daughter, Jane.  Jane has issues with obsessing that every grade and extra curricular activity will impact her future Ivy-League college acceptance.  Son, Dylan (13 year-old Emjay Anthony – ‘Insurgent’/‘Krampus’), has been asked to do nothing but exist.  Mom has done all his homework and he has no particular motivation for his future.  Both have culture shock when mom abdicates her throne and becomes a free spirit.

Over all, even the crises are not to be taken seriously.  The moms have some hilarious scenes between all the drinking and drugs — that inhabit every other scene.  The idea that moms can be individual and still be good moms comes out in the end.

‘Bad Moms’ was written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore.  These two are long time collaborators starting back in 2005 with ‘Rebound’.  They have done great comedies like ‘Four Christmases’, ‘The Hangover’ I, II, and III, ‘’21 & Over’, and worked on ‘Mixology’, a sitcom about young singles looking for love in a bar (2013 to 2014).  They began directing together with ’21 & Over’ in 2013.  They did a respectable job giving the message of acceptance in ‘Bad Moms’.  The excess of drinking, drugs, language, and moral depravity is totally a guy-thing.  It might make the women look equal to men in their vices, but they go too far.

‘Bad Moms’ is rated ‘R’ and runs a nice 101 minutes.  It’s very entertaining simply because this cast of women can make anything look good.  You will like them, even when Applegate is playing the worst terror of a mom.  Katherine Hahn keeps the laughs coming and steals every one of her scenes.  *** Make sure you stay for the frank interviews of the stars and their real mothers at the end.

Warning: I wouldn’t bring kids – there is too much sex, drugs, and drunken destruction.  They’ll learn that in college.


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