2016 may very well become the year of the comedy. From Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates to Sausage Party, War Dogs to Bad Neighbours 2, the genre is returning to its roots. Bad Moms is no different, except that it has a stellar cast that makes use of its comedic talents to tap into a resource and potential that few other comedic films have managed: motherhood.
It’s difficult to write a review for a film designed primarily for women and mothers when you’re a young male audience member. The comedy is aimed at a generation of American mothers who can sympathise and relate to the day-to-day stresses of Amy (played by Mila Kunis) and her two friends, Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell). For me, the star of the show ends up being Kathryn Hahn. Her disregard and casual approach to life makes the film less of a commentary of motherhood and more of a comedy. She manages to make scenes explode with comic value, simply because of her presence. Her facial expressions and her skill at delivering powerful one-liners is akin to Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, people who could make a film great simply by being in it.
The plot of Bad Moms is simple. Amy is a mother of two children and part-time executive at a coffee company that has more in common with a nursery than it does a company. She feels responsible for the failures of her children and her husband (played by David Walton) isn’t much help either. Enter Gwendolyn (played by Christina Applegate) who appears to be the perfect mother, serving as the PTA president and making sure that those who get on the wrong side of her suffer some sort of school-related injustices.
A lot of the humour and comedy can be difficult to break down, especially for non-American audiences. References to PTA meetings, hiring committees, elections, etc., they’re all part of an American schooling system that other countries simply don’t have. For that alone, it makes it difficult to appreciate the comedy in context. As a stand alone comedy film about a host of women who end up doing some stupid things, it’s great.
Critics will say that this film doesn’t add any value, that it doesn’t offer any sort of commentary to the comic circle. Films don’t need to do that. Films need to be enjoyable. This is definitely enjoyable. Judging by the reactions from the many women in the audience that the showing I attended, it’s a hit with that section of the audience and I found myself laughing at plenty of moments throughout the film. Sure, it’s not high art but it is fun.