It is a good thing that I didn’t read that this was made by the same folk who created the Hangover series, as I probably would have skipped it. It isn’t that I’m snobbish, but we all have our own sense of humour, and those films didn’t appeal to mine. Bad Moms though is a very different story.
The premise is basic; it is in the title after all. One over-worked mother of two young pre-teens is constantly late as she drives from place to place for her kids, attends PTA functions, while also working a part-time job that she treats more like a full-time job. She is always behind, trying to be the perfect mother. It doesn’t help that her husband is lazy and seemingly doesn’t contribute to the family at all, apart from working.
Soon into the film Amy meets a divorced mother, Carla, who seems like the very definition of a bad mother as soon as we meet her. She is played by Kathryn Hahn – someone I am not a fan of – but a testament to the writing is the fact that even her made me laugh consistently for the entire movie. Unsurprisingly then, once we meet her, the humour really kicks into gear, and it had me in stitches, giggling like a twit. And the main reason for that is… Well, this film tells the truth. So despite the crudeness of many of the jokes, they work because of the overall situation they reside in. This movie shows us how hard mothers work, and that no matter how hard one tries, it is impossible to be a perfect mother.
After some drinks together, a small alliance is formed, between Amy, Carla, and Kiki, another mother from the school who, similarly to Carla, doesn’t socialise with the other parents. She does however have four children and a husband who takes everything she does for granted. And so, after a few more drinks, the trio decide that they have had enough.
This new attitude is immediately apparent the next morning, as Amy wakes up the next morning, hungover, telling her kids that, y’know what? You can make your own breakfast, you are smart enough! Her kids reaction to this is golden.
Many of the problems that Amy faces is due to Gwendolyn (a fantastic Christina Applegate), an extremely judgemental women who runs the PTA. She is extremely fond of rules, of standardised tests; her total authority over the school is what the three mothers want to end, as Amy can see how stressed her daughter is from all the work.
This concept might not sound like much on paper, but these characters are memorable and well-written; Applegate especially is fantastic as this dictator-like character within the confines of the school.
When Amy decides that she is going to run for the president of the PTA against Gwendolyn, we instantly wonder, how? She isn’t especially popular among the other parents, and Gwendolyn does her best to make life unbearable, both for Amy and her children. This kicks Amy into gear, as she campaigns with a policy promising less of everything Gwendolyn forces down the throats of all these children.
This bitch has gone and messed with her kids, damnit!
The rest of the movie follows this story of the two battling it out, and while it sounds very simple, it is extremely entertaining as the two ladies go head to head. Not only is this film funny, but it is a lot of fun as well. The music used usually wouldn’t be to my tastes, but I found myself nodding my head and smiling, fully invested in the ride of the Bad Moms.
In addition to the commentary on being a mother, this also has a lot to say about how children are raised; what is truly important and what isn’t. It also looks at what really matters when it comes to school. And finally, I love that most of these parents are actually acting like kids themselves; gossiping, judging; acting much more childish than their own children.
This movie is an extremely interesting and hilarious look into the psyche of mothers trying their best to be a good parent, and how they feel when their children are angry at them, or conversely, when they are happy with them. As I mentioned, this movie works as well as it does because it is a look into real life. It is based in truth. So apart from a few moments where suspension of belief is required to move the film forward, this is a very interesting look into what it is to be a mother in the society we live in today. This portrayal of motherhood is enhanced by the scenes during the credits, as the actresses involved speak with their mothers, and all the mothers admit mistakes that they made, and these scenes themselves are very funny. A perfect way to end the movie.
Half a beer short of a sixer, this is the best comedy I have seen in quite some time.
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