Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
drunkenness in the Bible
use of vulgar and profane language
GAY—What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
What about gays needs to change? Answer
Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality
|Featuring:|| Mila Kunis … Amy
Kathryn Hahn … Carla
Kristen Bell … Kiki
Christina Applegate… Gwendolyn
Jada Pinkett Smith … Stacy
Annie Mumolo … Vicky
Oona Laurence … Jane
|Director:||Jon Lucas—“The Hangover” franchise
Scott Moore—“The Hangover” franchise
Whoah, momma! These ladies are getting out of control. But everyone deserves a break every now and then, right? Well, it all depends on what your definition of “break” is. Meet Amy (Mila Kunis), an overworked and under-appreciated mom who provides much for her family, yet hardly has a personal life of her own. Her children are spoiled and her husband, well… let’s just say he isn’t the most supportive guy in the world. Amy is getting pretty sick and tired of the every day mom life, and she isn’t the only one who feels this way. Amy befriends two other moms, Carla and Kiki (Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell), who lead very similar, stressful lives. Amy reaches a tipping point one day in particular, though, as she catches her husband having an on-line affair with another woman. As Amy seeks comfort in her new friends, the fire begins to rise and these three women have an “enough is enough” moment. They decide to take a break from their hectic lives and live a little by becoming “bad moms.”
“Bad Moms” has quite the cliché story line. But on the plus side, the writing isn’t too shabby for its subject material, and it is powered by some quirky performances from its leads. There are some solid laugh out loud moments and witty one-liners, but the direction here is still pretty sloppy, and the story is just too simple and predictable. When it comes to a lot of “R” rated comedies nowadays, I have noticed a recurring pattern of filmmakers making their movie as raunchy as possible, yet trying to rush a positive, heartwarming conclusion by the time the credits roll. “Bad Moms” does just that by delivering 95% trashy behavior and 5% positive uplifting themes. If filmmakers really cared about sending heartwarming messages to their audience, they would weave them through the entire run-time. Not just the final ten minutes.
Warning: This review deals with some graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.
The sexual material in “Bad Moms” is appalling. Although there is only brief nudity in one scene and implied sex in another, the sexual dialog is atrocious and is near constant throughout the film. Back to the nudity. When Amy walks in on her husband, she believes he is just viewing pornography, as we see a fully naked woman trounce across his computer screen. Mind you, she is apparently okay with this until she realizes that her husband is actually having a video chat with the woman. It is also implied that he is masturbating. Implied sex between a married woman and a single man is also seen, as bed sheets wrestle and the characters are seen laying on their backs (nudity is obscured by sheets). They talk about how much they enjoyed it. Oral sex is implied, as the man slides down off-screen (we see the woman’s reaction). A group of women go out with the plan of “getting laid.” They don’t succeed, but heavy flirting and kissing take place in the scene. A woman mentions that she got “50 Shaded” by her husband.
A woman is seen in her bra, women make passes at married men, and there are tons of graphic sexual references, including both male and female anatomy, masturbation, oral and anal sex, and other various disgusting sex acts. There is a graphic and lengthy discussion about circumcision, a married woman kisses an unmarried man, and a mom threatens a number of men’s wives by saying that she will sleep with them. A good handful of obscene sexual gestures are made, as well, and there is plenty of passionate kissing on-screen. On a couple of occasions, we see women making out with each other at a party, and later a mom brags about the number of women she made out with that night.
The violence is mild and slapstick in nature, as a few characters take some comic tumbles, a mom gets slide-tackled by a kid playing soccer, one falls off a bike, and another gets hit in the groin. Moms push each other over a couple times, and some reckless driving takes place, including a hit and run (no one gets hurt).
In addition to the graphic sexual dialog, the language is very heavy as we hear well over 50 f-words (also mouthed, used sexually and heard in background songs), about 25 s-words (once spelled out), and nearly 40+ misuses of God’s name (once paired with d*mn). Jesus’ name is abused about a half-dozen times and milder profanities including b**ch, cr*p, scr*w, p*ssy (used as a put down) and d*mn—for a combined total of about 10 times. The word “slutty” is said a few times and also the insult “d**k.”
These bad moms consume a lot of hard liquor, and there is a lot of additional alcohol consumption on screen, as scenes take place in clubs, bars, and house parties. There isn’t any on-screen drug use, but marijuana joints are seen momentarily, and a couple drug references are made. In one scene, it is implied that a few characters are high. There is a ton of irresponsible and reckless behavior on screen, including plenty of hardcore partying and trashing of a grocery store. Husbands are viewed as irresponsible, uncaring, male chauvinists. Children are disrespectful to their parents, lying and deceit take place, and there is also some other dishonest behavior. There is a crude reference made about diarrhea and a woman is seen just above the waist up urinating behind a truck (she’s fully clothed). A couple of brief racist remarks are directed towards Jews and African Americans.
“Bad Moms” isn’t entirely bad, though. Amy’s husband may see marriage counseling as a joke, but he is still willing to try to save their marriage. Sadly, Amy isn’t quite so willing. Although, for comedy’s sake, it is still a bit disturbing to hear a marriage counselor advise the couple to “get a divorce as soon as possible.” Moms say a number of insulting things about their children, but continue to discuss how much they love them, regardless. “Bad Moms” displays some bad parenting, as children say harsh and disrespectful things about their parents and literally take control, whilst the parents just sit back and take it. However, apologies are made on both ends by film’s end, attitudes change (what a relief), and roles are reversed. One mom is so fed up with her hectic life that she wishes that a small accident would happen to her, just so she could catch a break and be taken care of in the hospital. We never see her try to follow through with her wish, though, as she slowly turns her life back around. A child calls her mom out about being selfish. Although there is some truth to that (this opens up her realization), the child still acts disrespectfully. The cons outweigh the pros in “Bad Moms,” but the overall core of the story still has a bit of a heart and has some tender moments of true family love, reconciliation, and bonding.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
“Bad Moms” certainly doesn’t follow the direction of this proverb, but does begin to shine a light on this message by film’s end. Unfortunately, after an hour and a half of reckless, immoral behavior, a beautiful message like this is certainly muddled beneath all the filth on display. Near the end of the film, our three main moms realize that it isn’t too late to make a change in their children’s lives and be a positive influence. Some lessons are learned, but others aren’t, as adultery and additional sexual behavior is condoned and heavy drinking and partying are viewed as great stress relievers. Ephesians 6:2 shares that we should honor our fathers and mothers, but the message in “Bad Moms” sends mixed messages.
We could all use a break. And parents certainly don’t have it easy when it comes to raising their own children. I cannot speak from experience myself, but just by working with children on a frequent basis I cannot imagine the many challenges parents must face every day. “Moms don’t quit,” Carla says. “No matter what s**t is thrown at us, we have to just keep going, because we love our kids.” For the exception of the vulgarity, this is a bold, humbling statement. No matter what gets in our way or knocks us down, we have to pull ourselves up and keep going. In the long run, these moms learn just that. Enemies become friends, children begin to respect parents, husbands support wives, and our characters learn that it is okay not to be perfect and to just be yourself.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” —1 Thessalonians 5:11
Although “Bad Moms” shares positive and somewhat redemptive qualities, I cannot recommend this film to any audience, due to its abhorrent sexual material, obscene language, and over-the-top irresponsible and reckless behavior. Our characters may learn some valuable lessons about life, but after 100 minutes, I’m afraid I can’t say the same for the film’s audience. When you bear witness to near non-stop immoral behavior, these life lessons are given a back seat and literally thrown in the waste basket. “We need to teach our kids to be good people, instead of good test takers,” Amy says. Although Amy’s worldview may be warped, she still has the best of intentions for future generations and for establishing long-lasting, impactful relationships, along with raising children on strong moral values. The greatest lesson learned in “Bad Moms,” though, is that we need not to strive for perfection nor should we ever pretend that everything is perfect within lives. We need to confide in one another. Care for each other. Love one another. While we may be able to reach out and support those in dire need, we must never forget that we need saving ourselves. We need grace. Amazing grace. That grace can be found in Jesus. After all, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…Beneath all of its hard-R partying, rebellious debauchery, and profanity, it taps into something very real and insidious in the zeitgeist. …[A-]
—Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
…Funny enough, mostly thanks to Kathryn Hahn. …Lessons are learned, normalcy is restored and Amy delivers a cheesy speech…
—Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter
…bawdy matriarchs stick it to the PTA… Hahn’s Carla is a foul-mouthed force of nature, equal parts shocking and sweet. …[3/5]
—Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian (UK)
…There are fun bits scattered throughout “Bad Moms,” but they tend to be a bit isolated…
—Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…“Bad Moms” has a funny cast but just doesn’t work… you walk away disappointed… [2½/5]
—David Blaustein, ABC News
…hit-and-miss… occasionally raunchy… lurching between outlandish comedy set pieces based on public meltdowns and misbehavior that would likely get one arrested or injured in real life…
—Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
“Bad Moms” lives up to its name… almost cartoon-level characters and situations… [2½/5]
—Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk
…glorifies raunchy behavior and irresponsibility, with lots of foul language, lewd content and drunkenness…
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…It’s unhealthy to shoot for perfection, and it can damage both parents and kids. But it’s really, really unhealthy to shoot for bad—something that “Bad Moms” just doesn't get. [½/5]
—Paul Asay, Plugged In