A lot of good moms will want to see this movie

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - RICHARD ROEPER

In its own cheer­fully vul­gar, cringein­duc­ing and con­sis­tently raunchy way, “Bad Moms” is al­most as much of a car­toon as the an­i­mated hits still pop­u­lat­ing the mul­ti­plexes this sum­mer.

Al­most noth­ing about this movie feels “real,” in­clud­ing the set­ting. We’re told Mila Ku­nis’ Amy Mitchell and her fam­ily live in a Chicago sub­urb, but other than a few sweep­ing over­head es­tab­lish­ing shots of the city’s sky­line, it’s pretty ob­vi­ous the film was ac­tu­ally shot some­where else, i.e., New Orleans.

Sure, be­cause New Orleans and Chicago ARE the Twin Cities, so alike in ar­chi­tec­ture, cli­mate and cul­ture.

Ah, but here’s the good news. Writ­ten and di­rected by the team that penned the “Hang­over” movies, “Bad Moms” had me laugh­ing out loud even as I was cring­ing, thanks to some fan­tas­ti­cally over­the-top hi­jinks, crass but hi­lar­i­ous one-lin­ers and ter­rific per­for­mances from Ku­nis, Kris­ten Bell, Kathryn Hahn and Christina Ap­ple­gate.

Ku­nis is funny, sweet and lovely as Amy, mar­ried to the charm­less lunk Mike (David Wal­ton). This clue­less mope is a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional (wit­ness their beau­ti­ful and spa­cious home), but he’s an ab­sen­tee fa­ther even be­fore Amy kicks him out of the house for hav­ing an on­line af­fair. Mike barely pays at­ten­tion to Amy and their two chil­dren: the in­tense and ul­tra­se­ri­ous Jane (Oona Lau­rence) and lit­tle brother Dy­lan (Em­jay An­thony), who is said to have a learn­ing dis­abil­ity, but is more likely just un­mo­ti­vated and a tad ma­nip­u­la­tive.

Even though Amy was al­ready do­ing the vast ma­jor­ity of the par­ent­ing, with Mike out of the pic­ture, it’s ALL on her. In ad­di­tion to Amy’s high-pres­sure job at a gourmet cof­fee startup, she has to get the kids ready for school, make their lunches, drive them to and from var­i­ous ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, help them with their home­work, at­tend soc­cer games, tend to their ev­ery need, dis­ci­pline them, coun­sel them, nur­ture them and throw her­self into a hun­dred other moth­erly du­ties, cuz that’s what moms do.

It’s over­whelm­ing. It’s too much. (Yes, given the fam­ily’s in­come, Amy could eas­ily hire a nanny or per­haps en­list the help of adult fam­ily mem­bers, but as we’ve said, this ain’t a doc­u­men­tary.)

Christina Ap­ple­gate’s Gwen­dolyn is the Wicked Witch of the West­ern Sub­urbs, the wealthy, judg­men­tal and all-pow­er­ful head of the PTA, which, in the uni­verse of “Bad Moms,” con­trols vir­tu­ally ev­ery el­e­ment of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, from the hir­ing and fir­ing of teach­ers and coaches to the so­cial lives of the stu­dents and which kids are in the start­ing lineup for the soc­cer team.

Every­one is ter­ri­fied of Gwen­dolyn, in­clud­ing Amy — un­til Amy has a par­tic­u­larly ter­ri­ble day and she sim­ply can’t take it any­more. She ex­plodes at Gwen­dolyn in front of the en­tire com­mu­nity, quits the PTA, de­clares her­self a “bad mom” and de­cides to give her­self a break, have a lit­tle fun and ground the he­li­copter par­ent­ing for a while.

Join­ing Amy in the im­promptu bad moms club: Kris­ten Bell’s Kiki, a shy so­cial out­cast with four chil­dren at home and a hus­band who treats her like hired help, if you were the kind of per­son who was dis­mis­sive and un­ap­pre­cia­tive of the hired help, and Kathryn Hahn’s Carla, a sex­u­ally vo­ra­cious sin­gle mom who wears far too much makeup and tight jeans, hits on prac­ti­cally all the mar­ried dads, par­ties hard and truly seems to not give a fly­ing leap about what any­one in this up­tight com­mu­nity thinks of her.

Some­thing tells me a lot of good moms will find some real truths con­tained within the bawdy an­tics of “Bad Moms.”

MICHELE K. SHORT, TNS

Kris­ten Bell, from left, Mila Ku­nis and Kathryn Hahn in “Bad Moms.”

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