Bad Moms: Mila Kunis about the Comedy, Being Perfect Mother and wife (of Ashton Kutcher), Hollywood and Social Pressures

In Bad Moms, Mila Kunis’ Amy Mitchell is a mother of two trying to balance work and family and be what others perceive as a “perfect” mother.

It’s a common struggle and one that Kunis herself, then a relatively new mom, said she was dealing with when she got the opportunity to star in the STX Entertainment movie, which hits theaters today.

Amy, already overworked and overstressed, has a day from hell that ends with her declaring at a PTA meeting that she’s done trying to be a perfect mom. Her words resonate with two other moms, Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell), and together the three of them decide to be “bad moms” and not worry about others’ expectations of how they should behave and raise their children.

Even though Bad Moms was written and directed by two men — The Hangover‘s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore — who made the film for their wives, Kunis, Hahn and Annie Mumolo, known for her writing credits on Bridesmaids and Joy, said the film rang true to them.

Extremely Relatable Movie

“I have two kids and it was extremely relatable, and I think it taps into a lot of the issues that my friends and I deal with every day,” Mumolo told The Hollywood Reporter. “It was really fun to see something like that and I think especially in an R-rated, unleashed format—it makes it more real.”

Hahn also had some personal insight, revealing that her kids go to school with Moore’s kids. “I know his wife pretty well, and even in reading this I could just see it as a crazy beautiful love letter to her. And she’s so rad and so hilarious,” Hahn said. “I knew it would feel very cathartic to be able to upend expectations. You feel so much judgment as a mom I think culturally, and then none more so than the judgment you feel for yourself. You just feel like you’re failing at every turn.

Bad Moms is the first movie Kunis has made since she gave birth to daughter Wyatt and perhaps her last for a while, since she plans to take some time off after giving birth to her second child with her husband Ashton Kutcher.  Becoming a mother has made her more selective about the types of projects she takes on.

Many actresses are often saying they don’t want to play “the mom” or “the wife-girlfriend” as opposed to a powerful lead character, buy Kunis says this film, in which the moms are the main characters, “reinvents” what’s often characterized as a lesser role.

Pressure to be perfect and balance work and family?

That’s the reason I did the movie.  After I decided to start a family, I was so tentative about going back to work and felt so much guilt about whether I would be choosing to go to work over my child. I have an incredible support system at home. I have an amazing husband, who said, ‘You need to be fulfilled and happy in order to be a fulfilled and happy mom.’ As women we just put a lot of pressure on ourselves to balance life and family, with or without kids. I think it’s a constant battle. So I very much related to that as a character.

Hope s for the Viewers

I hope people walk away with a feeling that there is no such thing as balance and there is no such thing as perfection and you just need to be the perfect parent that your kid needs. You can’t be that until you’re a perfect person to yourself, until you’re good to yourself and take care of yourself, and until you’re fulfilled as a woman or a man or a husband or a wife, you’re never going to be a good fulfilled mother. I think the simple takeaway is that it’s OK to sometimes be a little selfish.

Has becoming a mom made you more selective?

Oh my God, yeah, I mean prior to having Wyatt, I would work on any movie that I found interesting. I would just be like, ‘Oh, this sounds like a really great project.’ It wouldn’t matter where it was in the world and how long I would be away from home because I was like a gypsy. I mean I literally lived out of my suitcase for most of my 20s, and it was great. I would never trade that for the world. But having a family at home, your priorities need to shift a bit, in a good way. I’ve done one movie between my kids, so yeah a lot has changed. And when I did the movie, I was very keen on it having to be close enough to home and making sure that my husband would be able to come with me, that he wouldn’t be working. We never want to spend months apart, so with work we always try to organize it so that one person can be with the other.

Time off from acting after second child?

Yeah! I mean I kind of went back to work when it felt right. I never put pressure on myself. I have an amazing support team whether that be my husband, my agent, my manager, nobody pushed me to go back to work. It’s all self-induced guilt, self-induced pressure. Absolutely I’ll take time, and I’ll know when the project’s right and I’ll know when the time is right.

Does this movie help redeem the “mom” role?

Absolutely! I mean this is not your stereotypical mom who is sitting by the wayside who’s playing sidekick to the funny, kooky dad. It definitely reinvents what a mom is and it puts it under the microscope of this is the reality of what a mother is in the best case possible, it just turns it up on its head. Sometimes in movies, moms are either the sidekick or perfect creatures. We are neither. We are somewhere in between and all around. I feel like this movie amplifies that.

Best advice received about being a mom?

It’s a very simple piece of advice that a girlfriend of mine gave me when I was pregnant with Wyatt and it was, ‘Make sure to put your husband first, put each first and then put the baby first for the both of you.’ When you put your baby ahead of your relationship, then your relationship will falter and you will never be a good parent for your child. And for both of us I think it was really important that we put each other first to one another and we put Wyatt first to us. Right before I was giving birth, my girlfriend said: ‘Make a reservation for yourself, four weeks from this point. Make a really nice dinner reservation so you have to keep it and in four weeks you have no choice but to get away for two hours. Spend some time with your partner, connect again as partners, not just as parents.’ And I think that’s incredibly important and it takes work, to be connected as partners in life, not just as parents.

Favorite and least favorite things about Hollywood?

My least favorite thing is paparazzi and their lack of respect for children. My favorite thing is the fact that I have the most incredible life. I have the most amazing opportunities to travel the world and see places that I never would have otherwise seen other than in history books and meet people that are better and smarter than I am and that are much more fascinating, that have lived incredible lives, that are diverse. I love this industry for all of the amazing opportunities that it offers.

Coolest place to travel

Anywhere from China to all of Europe to most of America. I can say I lived in Italy and I lived in London and I lived in Chicago and Detroit, random places around the world. Forget New York, London, L.A. You just get spoiled by the ability of immersing yourself in a different culture for three months at a time, if not longer, and there’s something really wonderful about that that most people can never do.

Advice to young actors?

If I had to start today as an actress in this industry, I don’t even know where I would begin. It’s such a different industry. I started 20 plus years ago. There was no social media. And now you have actresses getting parts in movies and shows because of their social media impact. I really have no advice because I clearly don’t understand half of it. I would just say if you want to be an actress, work hard, hustle, learn your craft and just do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it because you want more followers or get wealth and fame. Do it because you get fulfilled from whatever in this industry gets you excited other than the obvious.