“Bad Moms” fails to impress

Bad+Moms

Bad Moms

C.J. Housh

C.J. Housh

After The Purge, Warcraft, and Secret Life of Pets all turned out to be better than I expected, I began to worry movies weren’t bad any more. Maybe we’d finally reached the point where movies were just generally good and critics like me were going to be out of the job. Thankfully, Bad Moms has proven that movies can still be crap. 

Bad Moms follows Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn all as different kinds of mom stereotypes who are “not like other moms” and rebel against the system, giving up on fitting expectations. After refusing to deal with cheating husbands, expectant families, and petty PTA functions, they anger Christina Applegate and her collection of stereotype moms and a battle for the position of PTA president, putting the scholastic lives of their children at risk.

You may notice that I used the names of all the actresses; that’s because after one hour and 40 minutes, none of the characters were memorable enough for me to remember their names. Here’s why this movie exists: the writers of The Hangover watched Bridesmaids, liked it, and decided to make Bridesmaids. Why does a movie with an almost entirely female cast that takes on women-centric issues not have a single female writer? I’m not even kidding, it’s literally the pair that wrote The Hangover. The writing borders between sexist and empowering, but ultimately comes off as pandering.

This movie wants to be offensive. There’s a pretty bizarre moment of full frontal female nudity, there’s a lot of crude humor, and while I may have a mouth like a sailor, even I was taken aback by how much swearing there was in this movie.

This film could have been good, but there’s a lot of setup with no payoff. There’s a point where the characters begin listing off the mom groups they’d have to get to switch sides to win the election, and I thought it was going to build into this montage of her having to change to fit the likes of these different groups, and through this she’d realize how hard everybody was working and get to some kind of internal struggle, but instead she just throws a kegger and now everybody likes her.

The character has a realization about 20 minutes in as to what she wants, and then she just changes her day and she has it. No struggle.  

I’ve heard it said that characters achieve what they want by overcoming conflict, but good characters realize that what they want isn’t what they need. The problem here is Mila never compromises, never adapts, and never changes after the first 20 minutes of the film. She’s a flat character.

The one thing the film has going for it is it is funny. Go see Bad Moms at Phelps Theater Friday, Oct. 20, at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. You’ll laugh, even if you won’t like yourself after.