Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn steal the show in this frothy but funny comedy about mothers behaving badly
'Party like a mother' is the tag-line for Bad Moms, a raucous comedy from the writers of The Hangover, this time switching their attentions to a female audience. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn are the three moms who vent their frustrations by indulging their dark sides in this rude, but rather pleasing feel-good froth.
Amy (Kunis) is a soccer-mom keen for her daughter to make the school team, but is thwarted by a controlling PTA led by Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). After an outburst during an over-meticulous bake-sale planning meeting, Amy finds friendship with the repressed Kiki (Bell) and the outrageous Carla (a breakout performance from Hahn). The three moms set about a campaign to elect Amy to the PTA, sparking a no-holds-barred campaign of one-upmanship with Gwendolyn, and climaxing in a chaotic wine-fuelled fundraiser that wins the hearts if not necessarily the minds of the local parents.
The casual misogyny of directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's script for The Hangover might make them unlikely champions of the downtrodden mother, but they work a similar trick here by positioning bad behaviour as the solution to social repression. As the moms tear into both on-shelf products and unwary male staff at their local super-market during a drunken rampage set to Icona Pop's anthem 'I Love It', there's a sense of women getting back in control of their lives by getting out of control; this might be women's liberation as imagined by men, but it's also reflective of a universal human impulse to rebel.
The film features high levels of snark aimed at political correctness, and the raunchy details of the sex-talk sometimes tip too far into crudeness. But when Amy finally achieves her dream for her family, it's easy to cheer her on; Bad Moms is actually pretty good when it comes to raising a smile to two.
General release from Fri 26 Aug.