Bad Moms – Review (** 1/2)

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Ever since Bridesmaids categorically proved that women like puerile humour as much as men, many have been wondering why there aren’t more movies targeted at this clearly significant subset, especially given the glut of “man-child” comedies that flood cinemas annually. Though certainly watchable, Bad Moms sadly provides only intermittent shocks and laughs despite the presence of a strong cast.

Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is a wildly overworked mother who finds kinship with a sex-hungry single mum, Carla (Kathryn Hahn), and the more shy and retiring Kiki (Kristen Bell). After a night of heavy drinking, they vow to become “bad moms” by taking a laxer approach to parenting compared to the PTA crowd, led by headstrong perfectionist Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate).

There’s an undeniably great premise here and one that does so without going on a forthright man-hating parade, though given the R-rating, it does feel incredibly mild, creating a tonal dissonance that’s difficult to reconcile. This should’ve been about three women unleashing their most irresponsible instincts in the pursuit of personal satisfaction, but their “daring” pursuits for the most part would only offend the aforementioned PTA cr0wd.

It’s tough to argue with the chemistry between the three leading ladies, and Hahn is especially terrific, once again affirming how utterly under-appreciated she is, but it’s just a shame the material doesn’t inspire uproarious laughs as much as it should. There’s one discussion about circumcised penises, however, that’s arguably an all-timer, and Applegate is also perfectly-cast as the gang’s foil.

When the pic reaches for genuine emotion, it falls completely flat as an overwrought paean to motherhood, and is simply far more entertaining when it’s not trying to pander to its audience. The soggy sentimentality clashes with the harsher elements, which frankly should’ve been given far more emphasis over the maudlin sludge.

Bad Moms certainly isn’t a bad film, but merely fails to live up to expectations and is as such aggressively watchable without being something most would want to watch more than once. If the script pushed harder, this could’ve been a Bridesmaids-sized hit, but alas, it’s not to be.

** 1/2

Bad Moms is in US cinemas now and UK cinemas tomorrow


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