Mildly funny but a movie I feel caters more for the female spectator, with plenty of lady laughs in my screening backing up that point. It has humour, solid cast performances but it feels long and nothing special.
Frantically running errands day in and day out hardly backed by her childish husband is Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis). Her kids school is pretty much run by obsessive PTA mom Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), so when Amy decides to say no to her rules and become a bad mom along with wild Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and home-bound Kiki (Kristen Bell) it causes major friction.
It’s a pretty obvious rom-com, as soon as the clearly hunky male comes into the picture who just happens to be a manly widow then you know Amy will end up with him. The characters are all types we’ve seen before, the awkward one, the overly sexual one and the typical lead who needs a boost in morale to be her true self. Though everything is predictable, the movie chugs along nicely.
Well, actually on the most part it does, there are some times when it feels long. It’s an odd one as there’s points where the film doesn’t appear smooth like each scene feels tacked on and not wholly part of what we’ve seen before. At least the struggles of female parenting are handled well and there’s nice poignant moments about how hard it is for mums, single or otherwise, to raise children and work and live.
The laughs themselves seem to land more appreciated with the women watchers, as a mid twenties male I did chuckle from time to time. There’s humour with a tacky glossy PowerPoint presentation about a bake sale, the cattiness of Gwendolyn is great and the house party with Martha Stewart is comedic for a while but mostly it’s average. They run crazily past the comedy rule of three as at least six mums get up and say why they’re bad, concluding in a poorly added ‘Mean Girls’-esque quip from a lonely parent.
Change wise, you know the characters have to progress but the transformation the three go through feels odd and rushed, Kiki gets control and a sultry black dress, Hahn covers up and makes her son lunch and Gwendolyn de-ices herself for the gals as if all it took for them to alter their personalities were a couple of samey speeches from Amy. On the plus side the opening madness of Amy’s duties is well done, the hipster world of her workplace is on point and to their credit the credits are interesting as we see the actors real mothers discuss their lives.
Mila Kunis is a capable lead and shows she can be funny, smart and affable. She bounces off the other two bad moms and they make for an engaging believable posse of trouble. Kristen Bell is fun to watch as she looks on panicked often, espicially as they play with her pink hoodie. So when she lets loose and drinks it’s amusing to see her shift character. Hahn excels in this role, the mad electric wire frayed with energy and sexual confidence gives the film the copious amounts of cursing. Applegate is the best to watch, lapping up her role as the steel faced bitch.
It has comedy in places and balances the serious side of parental issues but it never feels like it goes anywhere or knows where to take itself. At least it’s backed by a healthy group of exciting and watchable actresses who give the movie drive.