Monday, August 29, 2016

Bad Moms (2016)

I didn't love The Hangover but I didn't hate it either, and I thought there might be a reasonable chance of transposing the frat boy party hearty stunt over to MILFs, more or less, and make it maybe even more funny. A reasonable chance, I say. More or less. And it does develop at least that much. The thing is, the trademark scene of co-directors and cowriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore basically works no matter what the movie is about—or doesn't work, depending on your view. Crank up the soundtrack, use lots of fast cuts, close-ups, odd angles, and slo-mo, with riotous scenes of drinking, dancing, and debauchery, and you're pretty much good to go. Bad Moms has that, for some highly rousing moments, and maybe a little more beyond as well. Mila Kunis is Amy, a suburban Mom in Chicagoland, who is doing her best, driving her kids around in an SUV, holding down a job, and making the PTA meetings as required. After a marriage crisis leads to the breakdowns of impending divorce 30something style, she breaks, lets go, lets loose, and lets it all hang out. She picks up a couple of sidekicks in the angelic, meek, and Christian housewife Kiki (Kristen Bell) and the much more bawdy Carla (Katherine Hahn, who is the funny one here, as an unbridled appetite set perpetually on consume). Add mean girls style catfights in a run for the PTA president, and it's mostly decent rollicking diversion. Mostly predictable, of course, going nostalgic and sentimental about motherhood at least as often as it deliberately crosses lines of taste, but capable of little surprises. In the modern frenetic style, a lot of things are thrown at the wall and some are bound to stick. It's much closer to teen comedy than liberated woman story though it seems to be trying to do both. I think Mila Kunis is probably better in small parts, as in Black Swan. Underneath it all, Bad Moms is mostly a male dynamic, which at least has the virtue of being what I expected. A better movie is Bridesmaids, with more actual women contributing to the story. As it happens, one of the writers of Bridesmaids has a role as a dim bulb in Bad Moms (Annie Mumolo). I'm not at all sure that's the right direction. This is probably a good one for late-night cable-TV. If you happen to be in a hotel room, stay out of the minibar.

1 comment:

  1. You are brave and fearless simply to venture into this territory and report back to the rest of us.