Directed by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore.
Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore.
Starring: Mila Kunis (Amy Mitchell), Kristen Bell (Kiki), Kathryn Hahn (Carla Dunkler), Christina Applegate (Gwendolyn James), Jada Pinkett Smith (Stacy), Annie Mumolo (Vicky), Jay Hernandez (Jessie Harkness), Lilly Singh (Cathy), Oona Laurence (Jane Mitchell), Emjay Anthony (Dylan Mitchell), Wendell Pierce (Principal Daryl Burr), Wanda Sykes (Dr. Elizabeth Karl).
If there’s a reason to watch the film, it’s to see Kunis, Bell and Hahn play off each other – which they do wonderfully well. Kunis and Bell worked together before in Forgetting Sarah Marshall – but both are given better roles this time around (Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a better film overall, but in it, Kunis had to play female perfection personified – basically Gone Girl’s “Cool Girl” in the flesh, and Kristen Bell had to play the heartless bitch – at least until late in the film when she finally got to say why she left Jason Segel). Here, Kunis gets to play the harried every woman – who doesn’t even realize how miserable she is until she is forced to recognize it. Bell gets to play a quieter, more sweetly strange character than I’ve ever seen her do before. And Hahn, well, she’s plays the Kathryn Hahn role to perfection – which is why you hired Kathryn Hahn.
I don’t quite think the film works when it tries to lay on some of the more serious stuff – particularly because it backs away from it too often. The story of a marriage which has simply run its course can be a sad one, but the filmmakers don’t really do much with Amy’s marriage. Bell’s marriage is even more disturbing, and honestly the whole thing leaves a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth thinking about it. It also doesn’t help that the film tries too hard to cram in too much plot – the whole business with the PTA election, and what Applegate does to try and win, not to mention a new love interest for Kunis (played by Jay Hernandez, as whatever the male equivalent to the Gone Girl’s Cool Girl is) just falls flat.
I cannot help but wonder if the fault lies in the fact that the film was written and directed by two men – Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. It isn’t that the film is bad per se, just that it feels very sitcom-y, and lacking in any real insight. There are moments that work, but not enough to really make the film worth it. I’m glad a film like Bad Moms exists – and that it became a success. Now, it’s time to make a version of this film that is, you know, good.