Blu-ray Review: Bad Moms

By , Contributor
There are so many movies about "bad" something-or-others that they're all beginning to blend together. Bad Teacher. Bad Grandpa. Bad Santa. Now we have Bad Moms and audiences' appetite for such "edgy" (not really) material seems undimmed. The film was a late summer sleeper hit, particularly popular among its target demographic—overworked, under-appreciate mothers looking for a little relatable escapism.

What these movies always seem to boil down to is 'people who should be paragons of responsibility loosening up and behaving badly.' Bad Moms does nothing to subvert that general concept. The writers behind the original (and only good) Hangover, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, basically give their mother characters nothing more to aspire to than drinking, doing drugs, and having casual sex. Is any of it offensive? Probably not, except maybe to the most delicate of sensibilities. If you've ever seen a Bad-something movie, you know what to expect. In fact, there are movies like Melissa McCarthy's The Boss, which has a common co-star in Kristen Bell, that don't have "bad" in the title but start to feel like the same flick. If anything's offensive, it's how recycled these "bad" movies are becoming.
bad moms mila kunis.jpg Here we have Amy (Mila Kunis), a mom constantly stressing over PTA meetings and vet appointments while juggling parenting duties. She raises the ire of busy body PTA president Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) when protesting their stringent bake sale rules. Amy quits the PTA, Gwendolyn has Amy's daughter booted from the soccer team, and Amy then decides to run against Gwendolyn for PTA presidency. Bonding with similarly haggard moms Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and goody-two-shoes Kiki (Bell), Amy begins winning over other moms by plying them with booze-fueled parties.   

bad moms applegate.jpg Sure, some of the throwaway gags are worth a chuckle. Throw enough crap at the wall and something is liable to stick. But in the end, what exactly are these "bad moms" advocating? Nobody forced these complainers to birth children, first of all. The message here is, basically, that it's every mother's right to party as hard as they please—even at the expense of parental responsibilities. The only somewhat novel idea here is that women are blamed at least as much as men (if not more so) for putting women into overworked lifestyles. Besides Gwendolyn, the nefarious mothers are represented by Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Vicky (Amy Mumolo). Gwendolyn and her lockstep cronies are basically overgrown bullies who are essentially fascists in their belief that their way is the only way. 
bad moms kristin bell.jpg Again, is any of this offensive? On second thought maybe so. Forget all the boozing and drugging these moms are so obsessed with (although it is pretty reprehensible). As conceived by male writer-directors Lucas and Moore, the most significant focal point these women have in their lives is... PTA meetings. Isn't that a woeful reinforcing of a patriarchal society? Isn't that the same as saying that these women have very little of meaning in their lives? Their "liberation" boils down to being able to have looser PTA standards. And getting trashed. Yes, it's a comic fantasy. But make no mistake: what Bad Moms presents is the opposite of feminism. 

rsz_bad_moms_bd.jpg Universal Studios' presents Bad Moms on Blu-ray with a suitable transfer and a robust DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix. What surprises is the relatively lean supplemental package. These comedies usually include endless, improvisational "line-o-rama" reels. But here we get a relatively reserved six minute gag reel and about 15 minutes of deleted scenes. All that's left are "Cast & Mom Interviews" (23 minutes; some of this material is seen in the film's closing credits).

Bad Moms might've worked better if it had some discernible point to make, instead of existing simply to give harried mom moviegoers something to pump their fists and yell "F*ck yeah!" along with. Instead it struggles to make its characters equal parts rebellious and lovable, all while giving them insultingly low-bar goals.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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