Bad Moms (2016)

(Video on Demand, November 2016) Being a mother has always been hard, but it’s even more impossible today given the weight of expectations that society place upon them. Be a good mom, a caring wife, a valued member of the community, etc. all at once! Bad Moms takes on a premise of “what if one of them suddenly stopped caring?” Freed from expectations, a husband or even the ability to care, our protagonist (Mila Kunis, decently funny but arguably not frumpy enough) allies herself with two other moms and goes on a rampage of indulgence. It’s sometimes very funny (the highlight sequence is a raucous grocery store mayhem to the tune of Icona Pop’s “I Love it”), sometimes a bit annoying (don’t get me started on the clownish Bad Dads of the film) and usually at the limits of believability. Unfortunately, the last act of the film is hampered by a sudden excess of sentimentality, the unsatisfactory resolution of a few romantic plotlines and a general lowering of energy. But when it works, it’s not bad—Kunis is often overshadowed by Kirsten Bell as a mousy bad mom, and especially Kathryn Hahn as an uninhibited divorcee. (Further adding to Hahn’s deviant screen persona.) While Bad Moms doesn’t quite take advantage of its own opportunities, it feels grounded in some kind of current reality, and does hit a number of high notes on its way to a middling conclusion. Plus: Social topical relevancy alongside the cheap intoxication jokes.

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