I’m writing something different today. I’ve felt a bit of writer’s block lately, but, as this is my space for whatever I want, I’m reviewing the movie Bad Moms.
I’ll preface it by noting I’ve heard only good reviews from other moms. It’s the movie everyone (everymom?) can universally agree on- it’s funny and relatable. My friends told me they laughed so hard they cried while watching it.
Now, my snobby inner critic must present itself here.
I sort of expected to not like this movie, based on the word-of-mouth alone.
I know. It’s super pretentious and ridiculous to think so highly of my own taste. That’s a personal problem.
But, I just expected a movie full of cliches and embarrassing moments.
Now, here’s how my predictions were wrong.
Bad Moms is amusing. I think I chuckled several times. I nodded my head in agreement with many of the stereotypical scenes of mommyhood featured. The plot is predictable from the get-go, but the story is lively enough that it doesn’t feel dragged down.
There are some problems I had with the story, though. The characters are one dimensional. Christina Applegate’s character disses Mila Kunis’s for working and being away from her kids all day (yet the kids are old enough to be in school, so what is a mom supposed to do? Sit around all day at home pining for their children?) yet in another scene they make fun of Kristen Bell’s character for being a stay-at-home-mom.
Which one is it? Is this meta? Proof you can’t win, no matter what you do? These discrepancies don’t come off as symbolic, it just seems a little sloppy.
It also annoyed me Bell’s character has 4 young kids, none of them old enough to enroll in Middle School, yet she goes to the PTA meetings and is at school drop-off for some reason. These are the type of issues that bother me about the plot, but overall it didn’t really matter to the story.
The movie relies on way too many “loud-music-montage” scenes. Like, way too many. There are at least five of them- blaring loud pop music, and the mom’s having a good old time, drinking wine or walking seductively out of houses or making out with old grocery store clerks. It feels manipulative and they could have cut at least three of them.
That said, I do have to give kudos to Hollywood for producing a mainstream movie featuring just women. And these women aren’t pining after men. Kunis’ character doesn’t seem heartbroken when she catches her husband cheating on her, it’s just a small subplot. I kept expecting the slutty Mom to get her due in the form of realizing having random sex isn’t fulfilling, but, they kept her character completely one-dimensional in a good way. The chick just loves sex and they didn’t make us question it.
And that’s the refreshing part of Bad Moms. All these character problems I see, the corny music, the predictability, it’s all not great; but it’s the same level of not-greatness of any other male-centric raunchy comedy. Does Will Ferrell play complex characters in Old School or Talladega Nights? Do we expect him to? No! It’s pretty awesome Hollywood took a chance on a movie like this, and this so-so movie has grossed over $181 million dollars to date. $181 million dollars. That is awesome and I predict it’ll lead to more female-driven movies just like this that are dumb and silly and aren’t romantic comedies.
I watched this movie with H sleeping soundly in my arms and a can of IPA and my husband next to me. Perhaps if I’d gone and seen it in the theater with my girlfriends I would have laughed harder. The community feel of it, hearing all the other ladies in the crowd loving seeing normal women and normal problems on screen, maybe I would have felt more affection for it that way. The theaters were probably the same atmosphere as the “Thunder Down Under” in Vegas; when you are there it’s the best thing ever and a sort of female hysteric mode gets into you, but when you watch the same guys at home on your TV alone, it’s just not the same thing. They are just silly guys dancing with their shirts off.
So, all in all, there are lots of things to appreciate about Bad Moms, and most of all, it’s the fact that it’s just another unremarkable dumb movie remarkable for featuring a cast of all females. Girl Power!