Bad Moms is just bad

The atmosphere in the movie theatre was like a strip club — hundreds of women dressed in their finest, loaded down with dollar bills and ready for action.

The trailers promised a film that mothers everywhere could finally relate to, giving voice to that silent inner monologue … one that screams “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

Unfortunately, Bad Moms is not only a fluffy, forgettable romp, it is a film that exemplifies a key failing in Hollywood today — it simplifies complex issues and panders to the lowest common denominator.

Laden with talented actors, some pretty clever dialogue and budget to spare ($20 million), Bad Moms fails because it trivializes real issues and completely underestimates women.

Perhaps because there were no women involved in the writing, directing or producing, we are left with a cartoon version of what men think women are about and what they want.

The movie opens up with our heroine, Amy (Mila Kunis), frantically juggling her two tweens, a sick dog, a demanding job and an equally demanding PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), who runs the school with an iron, bejewelled fist.

Everyone takes Amy for granted, including her lazy, unappreciative husband, and things finally explode when she discovers he’s been having a sexual online relationship for the last 10 months with another woman several states away.

During their confrontation, he blurts out, “of course I have feelings for her, I’m not a monster.”

She kicks him out and after a disastrous PTA meeting, decides to go get drunk.

While at the bar, she meets Karla (Kathryn Kahn – Parks & Recreation), the school’s racy divorcee.

She gave up long ago and proudly states that she would “rather go to Afghanistan” than sit through another one of her son’s interminable baseball games.

As they commiserate about motherhood, life and men, they are joined by Kiki (Kristen Bell, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars) a stay-at-home mother with several young children.

Kiki is ruled by her controlling husband and never gets out.

The three women get absolutely hammered and end up rampaging through a grocery story. By the end of their debauched tirade, they are now lifelong friends, bonded by their desire to stop trying so hard.

The Bad Moms movement is born.

Now that she’s a bad mom, Amy suddenly stops caring about what other people think. She stops conforming, doing things for her kids and even showing up to work on time.

Being a bad mom is fun and liberating.

She swaps her minivan for her husband’s muscle car and in a scene that could have been out of Fast & The Furious, drives her kids to school drifting around corners.

It is only when her daughter is framed by Gwendolyn for a crime and pulled from the school soccer team that Amy decides to run for PTA president in the hopes of ousting the power-hungry tyrant.

Garnering the attention of Jessie (Jay Hernandez – Hostel 1 & 2), the hot widower and seemingly only man who ever brings his kids to school, Amy soon discovers some of the benefits of being a single mom.

All seems lost in a series of nasty events and Amy is ready to give up on everything, but her friends come to bolster her confidence and she finds her inner courage to conquer her fears.

Mila Kunis is an engaging actress who is entirely likeable despite the fact that none of her life choices in this film make any sense.

Kristen Bell plays the repressed Kiki with spunk and in spite of some truly bad writing, we cheer for her when she finally tells off her controlling husband.

Christina Applegate is convincing as the obsessively perfect Gwendolyn whose life isn’t really perfect at all. There is a sinister desperation in her that makes her breakdown completely unbelievable.

Cathryn Hahn essentially steals the show as the bawdy and irreverent Carla who doesn’t follow any of the rules of normal mom behaviour and is mighty proud of it.

Wanda Sykes is a bright spot in the cast as her Dr. Karl therapist provides some of the few honest laughs in this movie.

It is unfortunate that all the characters are one-dimensional stereotypes as it really misses a great opportunity to address some real issues that women (and men) face today.

Movies can be funny and smart at the same time. Unfortunately, going for cheap laughs only makes Bad Moms just plain bad.

I give this film one heart.

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About the Author

Kim Foreman-Rhindress is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and London Western Conservatory of music for piano and voice. 

Kim has been performing in theatre and film for over 30 years in Canada, NYC, Palm Beach, Los Angeles, and the Netherlands. She has written several plays which have been produced in Canada and the U.S., and is the founder of Kelowna Voice Lab - helping people find their voice, be it singing or acting. 

A working musician, she performs regularly in Kelowna with her husband, Jim Rhindress, in an acoustic duo Smitten, and with her vintage trio Kitsch 'n Sync.  

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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