Bad Moms wouldn’t be so bad if the moms were allowed to be badder. The premise has the potential to be the new Bridesmaids, especially during a summer when all eyes are on female-led comedies. Here is a cast of strong, terrifically funny women playing the typical movie mom tropes: the stay-at- home-weirdo, the catty PTA power-mom, the rough-around- the-edges single mother, the one who looks like a runway supermodel. And here they are meant to let loose, be bad. But writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore keep these women pretty pent up compared to the male characters the duo previously wrote in The Hangover.

What Bad Moms reminds us is that it is men who have boisterous, blackout weekends, who wake up with tigers and Mike Tyson in their hotel rooms. Men fly to Vegas and Thailand with their pals, sleep with prostitutes, cheat on their wives. In Bad Moms a husband tries to shrug off his online masturbatory marital affair Anthony Weiner style – “I never even touched her!” Women lead different lives, the film tells us. Amy (Mila Kunis) works at a “hip” coffee manufacturer, makes breakfast every morning for her two children, takes the family dog to the vet, does her son’s homework for him, drops her daughter off at soccer practice and never forgets to remind them that she loves them, all in a day’s time with a truly obnoxious voiceover accompaniment. It’s a little worn in terms of mothers-doing- it-all tales, but what is to follow is Amy breaking bad. That “bad” looks nothing like what her male counterparts get up to.

Amy, along with her mom crew Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell), go rogue enough to get an “R” rating mostly for coarse language. They hit up the movies and catcall the actor on the screen. They wreak havoc in a grocery store while Icona Pop’s 2012 hit “I Don’t Care” plays. Amy stops making breakfast every day, going so far as to eat leftover nachos in front of her children in the morning. Can you imagine?! Of course PTA overlord Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) will have nothing to do with their foul behavior, and war ensues over the PTA president position, a predictable war that carries half of the film. The climax of the fight involves two competing house parties, Amy’s being one that would be funnier if it didn’t feel like a tamer version of the rager in the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler film Sisters. Kathryn Hahn is as funny as she always is, as is Kristen Bell, but both are trapped in a script that cages them into clichés and sentimentality that the writers of The Hangover are not known for getting right.

Bad Moms certainly helps to prove that women are funny, so funny that they are able to shine through some pretty tired storylines. When Kiki’s controlling husband shows up at a girls-day-out lunch and tells her she needs to be at home with the children, Hahn brilliantly bites back, “Nice to meet you Ike Turner.” That’s sure to get some laughs. And Mila Kunis’ rant to her son about how he needs to do his own homework so that he doesn’t become an entitled asshole might get some claps. But even with all that firepower from the hilarious women leading the cast, Bad Moms never lets them go nuts. The final shot is of the women boarding a plane; perhaps that is where the real fun will be had. We just don’t get to see it.

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