Sunday, 21 August 2016

'Bad Moms' Review (2016): Suburban Rebellion

Big Screen Watch: Better than your average summer comedy. It's a well done movie with clever humour.
When I hear an R Rated comedy is coming out, I'm immediately optimistic. Something about the way R opens up the floodgates seems to curate good comedy in my eyes. I mean with R you can curse, show blood, nudity, sex. There's just so much more material you can make jokes out of. Of course, sometimes the more you use, the less funny you are. Excess is often a problem in comedy, but when the balance is struck, R Rated comedies can be the very best.

'Bad Moms' is every mothers hidden fantasy brought to life. The movie follows the life and times of one Amy Mitchell, a mother of two who looks at her high octane life of running from one crisis to the next and says "Perhaps not." Tired is she of pointless PTA meetings, infuriating work life, and kids she breaks her back for only to end up feeling like a failed mother. Instead, Amy decides it's time to cut herself some slack and be as bad as she can be. 

Maybe not this bad, but as bad as any PTA mom can be.
Right away I thought this movie seemed very familiar. Starts off showing the character in her miserable life, until she reaches a breaking point. Upon reaching said breaking point, she decides enough is enough and makes a change. That change leads to a putting the character in a few scenarios that make us go "God I'd love to do that". The effects of the reckless behavior catches up with her, and she comes away from the experience having learned how to balance her life for the better. 

So it's not exactly a new formula but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It might be a ride you've been on before, but 'Bad Moms' at least makes it memorable. The movie puts Amy in situations that are genuinely creative and funny. For all its predictability, rarely did I find the movie was going for the obvious joke. If anything, the jokes they set up are ones that are familiar to you, but ones you didn't really see coming. Like a pie to the face. 

Pie to the face: You never see it coming, but when it hits you, you're hit with a classic.
Relatability is key to a movie like this. You have to be able to empathize with what's happening on screen for it to resonate. Bad Moms does this in spades, but not just with the humour. The real strength of Bad Moms is in its instantly sympathetic characters. Amy is not just a mom brought down by frustration, she's someone who genuinely does as much as she does because she cares. The early scenes in this movie take their time in establishing her character, which makes the later pay off all the more effective. 

Aside from Amy though there are a few other moms for the ride. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore struck gold with their trio in 'The Hangover' and there's a similar ensemble here. Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell play moms inspired by Amy's rebellion against suburbia. Hahn's single mom wild card almost irritates, but her relentless absurdity won me over. Bell is on the other side of the equation with a character so sheepish you fear for her safety in the outside world.

Great ensemble comedy casts are hard to find. This is one of them.
Each of the characters in the movie are imaginatively used, and there's clearly a lot of thought put into how to use them. But once again, 'Bad Moms' surprises in how much heart it possesses. The side characters in the film aren't just one note jokes, they're actual characters. There are some characters that don't get as much to do, like Jada Pinkett-Smith, but they're put to good use regardless.

'Bad Moms' is a movie that gives a voice to the people in your life who give the most. The unsung heroes of the day to day. It's not the most complex plot, but that's okay. It made me laugh pretty hard, and I cared about what was going on the whole time. There's not a moment that I felt it was dragging on, and I never thought any character was annoying. I liked this movie a lot, and for that, I'm gonna say it's a Big Screen Watch.

Thanks for reading and for more content on Rated R Comedies, here's a podcast I do where we tackled that very same topic: