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Bad Moms keeps the raunch-com bar enjoyably low

As anyone in the “caffeine, carpool, cocktails, repeat” cult can attest, motherhood is a blood sport. And it’s not just the kids you’re up against.
bad moms
Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn star in Bad Moms.

As anyone in the “caffeine, carpool, cocktails, repeat” cult can attest, motherhood is a blood sport. And it’s not just the kids you’re up against.

The already high expectations placed on moms has reached stratospheric heights thanks to the Internet: social media posts with photos of scrubbed, perfect offspring, mommy bloggers who posit doom-and-gloom scenarios if you aren’t parenting just-so, status updates that trick women into thinking that everyone else is having a ball while you’re a ball of frantic emotion and post-baby goo-belly (even years after delivery).  

And so continuing the latest television and movie theme, that gals can sink as low and get just as nasty as the guys can (think Trainwreck, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, TV’s Odd Mom Out) is Bad Moms, wherein a trio of moms call bullshoot on the quest for parental perfection and let loose for a change.

On the surface, Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) has it all: well-adjusted, high-achieving kids, a handsome husband (David Walton) and a cool job at a fair-trade coffee start-up. But she has sacrificed all for her family since she was 19, hubby isn’t as perfect as first thought, and now Amy is stretched so thinly that she’s ready to snap.

Snap-time comes courtesy of PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), as she delivers the litany of no-nos for the upcoming bake sale (no gluten, no wheat, no MSG, sesame, soy, butter, milk, eggs, sugar, nuts, etc).

Bake sales are touchy subjects with moms (Sarah Jessica Parker had a similar meltdown trying to achieve pastry perfection in I Don’t Know How She Does It) and after Amy’s protest she finds kindred spirits in hot-to-trot Carla (scene-stealer Kathryn Hahn) and mousy Kiki (Kristen Bell), who is never free of baby spit-up.

The three go up against Gwendolyn and her lackeys (Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo), the elder Mean Girls at William McKinley School. And, fittingly, in an election year, it all comes down to a PTA showdown: an opulent affair at Gwendolyn’s mansion versus a jello-shots-and-pizza-hangout on Amy’s side.

Complicating things for Amy are the attentions of hot single dad Jesse Harkness (Jay Hernandez, Suicide Squad), who is made even more lovable in the school moms’ eyes thanks to his widower status, and the never-ending demands of her kids (Emjay Anthony, recently seen in The Jungle Book, and Oona Laurence, of the upcoming Pete’s Dragon).

“We all work too damn hard to make our kids’ lives amazing and magical,” moans Amy. “Their lives already are amazing and magical.”

It’s about moms who decide to get a life and take care of themselves first, advice no mother has followed, ever. This marks the first time these women have taken a breath and some time for themselves, and reconnected with people outside their own gene pool.

Bad Moms is written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the guys who brought you The Hangover, so expect an amped-up raunch quotient. There’s one very funny description of Kiki’s sex life with her husband, unprintable here. Another scene has the women in hysterics at Amy’s dowdy, nursing “mono-bra.”

While the outcome of the film is never in doubt, there is enough verisimilitude to the mom stories offered up by the script to have women howling in recognition and solidarity. Just try not to pee when you laugh. 

Bad Moms screens at International Village and Marine Gateway.