In a year of disappointment after disappointment, 2016 has gotta be the year of surprising gems and none was more so surprising than Bad Moms. From the rubbish trailer, I went in with no expectations, in fact, it didn’t look good at all but after a film critic I like gave it a surprisingly good review, I went in with higher hopes.
Well, it must be said that you should never judge a film on its marketing campaign, I love Bad Moms
No, really, come back. Believe me, no-one’s more surprised than I but I came out of Bad Moms with a grin on my face. I laughed consistently throughout. Not just titters or smirks but full on belly laughs. One scene near the beginning had me practically doubled over in laughter.
Before, ‘Ghostbusters’ was the funniest film of the year for me but now Bad Moms has dethroned that. I can’t really say more than that about the film’s humour but I laughed so much more than I expected to. It was raucous and filthy, silly and subtle, more Bridesmaids than The Hangover and it sustained a grin on my face throughout.
And I’m not even someone to usually laugh at something gross-out and sweary, I like silly and weird. That’s me all over.
Not all the jokes land and the sheer profanity on show is a bit draining but when there are so many jokes being thrown at you, it’s a wonder that so many hit.
Yet, that wasn’t all the film had to offer. It was surprisingly emotional, the relationships between the moms and their kids had depth and honesty, I was invested in their lives and its something everyone can relate to, so it sometimes almost had me welling up.
Particularly emotional was the end credits scene, which reminded me of the end of that classic romantic comedy, ‘When Harry, Met Sally’. It was sweet, beautiful and again, had me welling up.
This is helped by a great and more than game cast, led by the unflappable Mila Kunis, the excitable Kristen Bell and the downright dirty Kathryn Hahn whose role reminded me of her campaign manager Jen Barkley from ‘Parks and Rec’ but with less restraint.
Also, Christine Applegate is great and the young Oona Laurence is another great child star.
On the subject of the films feminism, the film is written by two men, which is a problem for any film that purports to be about women. The film industry sucks at putting women or people of colour behind the scenes, so having a film as focused as it is on being a film about the resolve of women, is offset by the film’s writer/director duo.
I also can’t claim to really understand the film’s message beyond my limited knowledge as a man and I’ve not read much about Bad Moms but if there are more complex problems with the film’s representation, I’m not yet aware and I’d love to discuss them.
However, watching it, I not only enjoyed the comedy and the cast, but also the depth of the story about motherhood and though the film had its flaws, I loved watching it and thought it represented women well.
It’s not all about the debauched partying either, that’s just something they do and I loved how the end decided to go for a resolution to the film’s female rivalry instead of simply opting to have one character win. Or the reversal of gender roles in the lead children. Or how despite being a douche, once Amy and Mike had decided to get divorced, there was no animosity between them and they were friendly.
Nice little moments that added up.
It was about strong women being awesome and though “from the writers of ‘The Hangover'” and other terrible films is not something anyone should put in the marketing for a film, I was impressed with how it didn’t suck as much most comedies these days.
However, I wasn’t keen on some of the most twee aspects of the film, the use of popular music, especially in sad scenes, was a bit too on the nose. Also, there’s a very lazy filmmaking approach to comedies these days, like just having everything be bright and breezy is enough.
Yet, a film needs a fine balance between its different elements and I felt that though Bad Moms had plenty of problems, it left a better lasting impression than most well-received movies. I’d rather watch this ten times over than watch 10 seconds of Jason Bourne or watch Suicide Squad again.