A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bad Moms is a raucous, if uneven, "hard R" comedy about motherhood, PTAs, sisterhood, and everything in between. It's in-your-face raunchy: Expect lewd jokes, scenes showing couples in bed and discussing sex positions, a man caught with his hands down his pants, and one moment when a woman is shown fully naked. There's also plenty of swearing (including "f--k," "s--t," and more), over-the-top drinking/partying, and some drug use (marijuana joints). Characters argue/yell at each other, and a woman is so distracted while driving and speeding that she nearly crashes into a car. While none of the characters is intended to be an outright role model, men in particular are stereotyped/objectified.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BAD MOMS, Amy (Mila Kunis) is a coffee company exec who's trying to juggle an intense part-time job (that's really more full-time), a strained marriage, two kids, household responsibilities, and everything else -- all under the watchful gaze of the critical PTA moms at her children's school. When Amy discovers that her husband has been having online sex with a woman across the country, Amy kicks him out and is left juggling even more. Soon, she decides she's had enough and can no longer live up to society's expectations of perfect motherhood. With two new friends -- Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell), both mothers at the school who feel her pain, too -- at her side, Amy decides it's time to embrace "bad" motherhood. But at what cost?
Is it any good?
This film is funny -- and fun, thanks to its three main stars -- but a perfect movie, it's not. Which isn't to say you shouldn't see it anyway, beause there's enough here to leave you in a good mood after the credits roll. First, there's Bad Moms' celebration of sisterhood -- in this case, the friendship between Amy, Kiki, and Carla. Though the latter two are rendered with far less nuance than Amy, their friendship resonates, in part because audiences will identify with their shared journey. Many moms will recognize the pressures that Amy faces in the film; as the heart and soul of the movie, Kunis infuses her with enough gravitas that she's completely relatable, even if the situations she finds herself in may be caricatured.
But the movie's potency -- and its humor -- are diluted by shortcuts the film takes: "Bad mommy" moments are lumped together, so what's merely mortal (having kids who haven't bathed in a while) is presented as on par with things that are more disturbing and perhaps downright upsetting, like alcoholism (yes, we know it was a joke, but still) and outright neglect. And the men? They're pretty much portrayed as useless, misogynistic, or downright moronic. The one father who stands out is lauded primarily for his looks and prowess in bed. (Objectification much?) Still, Bad Moms is fun to watch -- take the insights when they're offered, and try to ignore the stereotypes and spot-them-a-mile-away jokes.
Talk to your kids about ...
How does the movie depict motherhood's many challenges, and the weight that it places on women's shoulders? Does it dispel myths about motherhood or reinforce them? Teens: Does seeing this make you feel any differently about your own mom/parents?
What of the fathers? How are they portrayed? Are they multi-dimensional or one-note? What does that say to viewers?
Divorce is a big theme in the movie: How does it handle the subject and its impact on children? Do you think there were other options available to the divorcing characters?
One character is extremely rich but also very unhappy. What role does money play in our lives? Do you have to have it to be successful? Happy?
- In theaters: July 29, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: November 1, 2016
- Cast: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell
- Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sexual material, full frontal nudity, language throughout, and drug and alcohol content
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