Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bad Moms

Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) juggles work, motherhood, and being a wife to her man-child of a husband on a daily basis. But no matter what she does, nothing seems to be enough. Eventually, she reaches a point in which she can no longer cope with all her obligations, leading to her decision to declare herself as a bad mom and take a break. She throws her husband out of the house. She stops making breakfast, lunch, and homework for her children so they can learn to fend for themselves. She also starts sleeping with the father of her daughter’s classmate, a hot Latino widower named Jessie (Jay Hernandez). When perfect mom and PTA president Gwendolyn James (Christina Applegate) finds out all about this, she declares Amy as a threat to the values that their school espouses, and then goes on to sabotage her daughter’s life. Not to be bullied, Amy finds an ally in fellow outcast moms, Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), who rally behind her to support her bid for PTA presidency against her arch-nemesis and her army of skanks.

This felt so much like a mommy version of Mean Girls. Seriously, there are even scenes which looked like they were lifted directly from Tina Fey’s 2004 runaway hit, like that of Gwendolyn’s “Get in, bitches” and that woman at the PTA elections who said she didn’t even have kids but likes attending such gatherings because she is lonely. The characters also coincide to some extent. Gwendolyn is very Regina George, while Vicky (Annie Murmolo) is dumb Karen, and Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) is forever second-in-command Gretchen Wieners. Jessie is Aaron Samuels. Kiki is a tame female version of Damian. Carla is a promiscuous version of Janis Ian. And of course, Amy is Cady Heron. They should have just changed the title to “Mean Girls: A Decade Later” or something.

The good thing about Bad Moms is that it tackles an issue that is not really that hard to relate to nowadays, that of motherhood. Parenting has evolved through the years, and not all techniques that used to work well before for the older generation necessarily apply now. What remains the same, though, are the challenges that mothers face in raising their kids. In the case of Amy, this is further complicated by her status as the family’s breadwinner, which makes you question why she endured her husband for that long. But then again, she goes out of her way to explain this. In a way, life just happened to them. I mean, kids in your early twenties? That’s like ten years of party time forcibly taken away from you, and so you compensate by having a second run at it.

The bad thing about Bad Moms is that it does not seem to have a legit argument to advocate. The plot complications are resolved through luck and lengthy speeches that are supposed to be inspirational, so moving that it'd let you forgive all the loopholes and contrivance squeezed in its 100-minute runtime. That’s more like a sign of laziness on the screenwriter’s part. Everything gets back together as quickly as they fell apart, and they all lived happily ever after. That’s not the way it happens in real life, you know. But then again, this is reel life, so why bother? It’s a feel-good movie that’s supposed to make you forget your problems for a while, and hopefully give you some motivation to solve your own once you exit the cinema.

So yeah, plotwise, the two movies are pretty much the same. Bad Moms does not contribute anything new to the genre. It is destined to be one of those hilarious chick flicks that you can watch over and over again on a boring weekend and still laugh at most of the jokes. It’s funny because it’s like a follow-up version of Mean Girls for the same demographic that enjoyed it a decade ago, and are now parents in their own right. Were these films produced by the same production company? You can also think of it as an all-female domestic version of The Hangover.

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