Review of ‘Bad Moms’: Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn try to be bad, but comedy is a sweet confection. Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.
OK, “Bad Moms.” Don’t think I don’t see what you’re doing. Here you are, pretending to be a raunchy, R-rated bad-girl comedy, when you’re actually about as tough as sugar-sprinkled rice pudding. To be clear, this is a movie whose final credits showcase not profanity-laden outtakes, but a series of adorable interviews with the lead actresses and their own actual moms (all of whom love their daughters to bits). This is a movie with a sudden and perfect appearance by Martha Stewart. And this is a movie whose most off-color sequence — the one in which the ridiculously charming Kristen Bell, in a hoodie, imitates a male body part — is (I’m sorry, there’s no other word for it) super-cute.
Amy (Mila Kunis) is a mother of two who’s overwhelmed by her life, juggling parenthood, marriage and career. (She is, we’re told, the oldest employee at her workplace, an ultrahip coffee company where a death on “Game of Thrones” caused the distraught staff to take two weeks off.) Shunned by a trio of perfect moms at her children’s school (Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo, playing it like the “Mean Girls” posse two decades later), Amy befriends fellow stressed-out moms Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn). They try hard to be bad moms — drinking in bars, wreaking havoc at the supermarket (pausing, mid-spree, to coo at an adorable baby), bringing purchased doughnuts to a bake sale — but they aren’t. Because they really, really love their kids — and are, at heart, great moms.
The message of “Bad Moms” is that being a mother today is impossible — note that the Mean Mom posse, in almost the same breath, shames Amy for working and Kiki for staying home with her kids. But it’s a hammer brought down with a light, goofy touch (maybe too light; the male characters could use some punching-up), with a gleefully charming central trio that I enjoyed hanging out with. (Carla, praising Amy’s parenting, notes that “You give them salad! You remember their birthdays!”)
Movie Review ★★★
‘Bad Moms,’ with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith, Annie Mumolo, Jay Hernandez, Clark Duke. Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. 101 minutes. Rated R for sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content. Several theaters.
Despite its name, this is a fluffy cupcake of a movie — and sometimes, a cupcake is just what you want.
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