Bad Moms: Mila Kunis Struggles with Maternal Duties in Rude Comedy Written by Two Males

bad_moms_posterThough poorly directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, better known as the writers of the smash comedy hit, The Hangover, Bad Moms unfolds like a pilot for a rude femme-driven sitcom, with some hilarious situations (or rather moments) revolving around a socially relevant issue: society’s definition of the “perfect” mom.

And indeed, the comedy, which is sharply uneven, is saved by the low-key charm of its three leading ladies, though none gets to inhabit a fully developed character.

Young, tired, overwhelmed mothers likely will identify with the central situation, the dilemmas involved in balancing family and work, and the chaos that results from neglectful performance of maternal duties.

Mila Kunis plays Amy, a frenzied working mom of two whose dopey husband has a porn addiction and who is feeling the heat from her boss (Clark Duke) and the local PTA head Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate).


Amy’s anxiety, as least the way she perceives it, derives from her being judged for being “imperfect” in the way that she fulfills her role as a mother.

bad_moms_5_kunis_bellRebelling against the normative expectations of her, she finds solace and support in two other femmes (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) who would rather party than fulfill their obligatory maternal duties.

Unfortunately, there are too many familiar clichés and cheap gags, and the humor is too broad. At times, it feels as if Bad Moms is going out of its way to conform to the notion of “Girls Just Wanna Have Some Fun.”

Better scripted than helmed, the movie boats some hilarious situations and smart lines. As one mom confesses, “I give my kids Benadryl every Tuesday so I can watch ‘The Voice.’” And there’s clever use of an improbable celebrity testimonial for vodka Jell-O shots.

A scene in which the women cry over their loves for being moms is counterbalanced with them sharing insults for their ungrateful brats

bad_moms_2_kunis_bell_hahnKristin Bell, as the passive sweetie who eventually calls on her husband for handing her all the problems and work, gets her moments.  Hahn, as the raunchy type, also get some laughs.  But the movie belongs to Kunis, who again shows how dominant she can be—given the right material.

Here are two male writers who try to look at things from a decidedly female viewpoint. In interviews, both have said that they meant the movie to be a tribute to their loving and hard working wives-mothers.

You may not laugh as much or as hard as the scribes had intended, but there’s no denying that even nominally the comedy is topical, touching a collective nerve at a time when gender and familial roles are largely contested in our society.