‘Bad Moms’ celebrates imperfection

"Bad Moms" | STX Productions Inc.Grade: B
STX Productions Inc./Courtesy
"Bad Moms" | STX Productions Inc.
Grade: B

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From the writers of “The Hangover” comes “Bad Moms” — a ridiculously funny, lively tale of overworked moms who reach their breaking point, thus going on wild, self-indulgent escapades to relieve themselves of the stresses of day-to-day responsibilities. In a spectrum of summer blockbuster comedies, this film is a smart and liberating one, presenting to audiences a witty narrative of the universal absurdities of motherhood.

On the surface, Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) has the perfect life — a beautiful home, over-achieving kids and a dedicated career. Yet in reality, her marriage is falling apart, she is driven to the point of exhaustion and she is constantly failing to prioritize herself. The comedy blends an amusing script with a realistic depiction of parenthood that hits close to home for many real-life families. And all the while, it brings forth one question: What does it mean to be a good parent?

While the movie electrifies the audience with its playfulness and unexpected twists, it simultaneously touches on gender dynamics. Amy manages to hustle through the day with little to no help from her husband and when Kiki’s (Kristen Bell) spouse criticizes her for not staying at home to take care of the kids, she refuses to take the blame and fires right back at him. Not only are women portrayed as strong and powerful, but the film argues for the awe-inspiring things that can happen when women come together. In a world where media misrepresents women by depicting them as rivaling enemies who tear each other down, the movie insists that we need to battle those injustices by building each other up.

In an interview with PopSugar, Kunis spoke about the transformation of parenting from the perfect manner in which individuals formerly tried to raise their children to a generation that now respects making mistakes and learning from one another. “I think nowadays, if shit’s going wrong and I call my best friend and I’m like, ‘I don’t know, this color is coming out of her nose and I’m pretty sure she’s dying,’ ” she said. “And it’s OK to do that now, but I don’t know if it necessarily was OK before.”

Not only does the film channel raw humor with a painfully honest representation of raising children, but the back and forth feud between Amy and the tightly knit clique of perfect mothers resembles a similar fight for social power in “Mean Girls.” As Amy battles it out with PTA queen Gwendolyn James (Christina Applegate), this adult version of the 2004 teen comical film evokes a bittersweet nostalgia for high school days. With her girls Kiki and Carla Dunkler (Kathryn Hahn) by her side, Amy stands up for what she believes in at a PTA meeting and election, consequently mirroring Cady’s approach in dealing with Regina George.

As the film suggests, being a mom is impossibly difficult — a full-time effort and a job that lasts a lifetime. So for all the moms out there who take their kids to soccer practice every day or the ones who spend endless hours helping their child craft a political cartoon for their history project or for those who sacrifice anything and everything for their children while loving them immensely: Your actions are not missed. No mom is perfect — we all make mistakes and keeping up with day to day responsibilities becomes exhausting. But that doesn’t make you a bad mom.  

Contact Mana Anvar at [email protected]. Tweet her at @manerzzzz.