Bad Moms: The Good, The Bad, And The Hammered

Bad Moms Good Bad

Long before Martha Stewart offers a tray of Lingonberry Jello shots, you're thirsty for what the ladies of Bad Moms are drinking. Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and Kristen Bell have already bonded over whiskey shots, slo-mo rampaged through a grocery store Molotov-shaking a gallon of mudslides, and hissed 'Ike Turner' at Bell's husband when he guilts her into ditching their white wine lunch. Between Bad Moms and Ghostbusters , the women of the multiplex are partying it up — and we get to crash.

Like Ghostbusters , Bad Moms exists in a world where women are warriors and men are morons, a gender inversion that isn't fair, but hell, it's been a rough few decades of dudes and dingbats. And also like Ghostbusters , that's the only groundbreaking thing about it. Bad Moms is a retro throwback that proves girl comedies can rage as hard — and as mindlessly — as any dumb all-dude giggler. Imagine American Pie from the perspective of Stifler's MILF. Or rather, just witness Hahn's single mom channeling her spirit like a sexpot at a séance, grabbing male Uber drivers' tits, making out with wasted PTA ladies, and heckling the newly separated Kunis' impenetrable bra. 'Don't fuck the janitor at your kids' school?' grouses Hahn. 'What is this, Russia?'

Directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore resurrected the R-rated shock comedy by writing The Hangover and then flunked by mistaking their trilogy for a tragedy. Bad Moms goes back to school. It's bright and fast and absurd and sloppy, the kind of flick that lives — or dies — by how much you dig watching Bell wear a pink hoodie and pretend to be an uncircumcised penis. (Answer: a lot.) If Hahn is a vamp, Bell is a demented child — Shirley Temple on bath salts. Kunis gets saddled with the emotional arc as an overextended mother of two who works part-time at a coffee startup and whose young coworkers regard her as, oh, roughly the same age as Queen Elizabeth II. She's a Good Mom, sprint-tippytoeing from meetings to soccer games on stiletto heels and driving so recklessly she should star in the next Fast and Furious .

But she's not good enough for anyone: her husband, her whiplash moody kids, and most of all her school's Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate, unblinking and deadly), a bless-her-heart suburban tyrant who coats her threats in organic Stevia. All we want is for Kunis to lock her up, or at least dethrone Gwendolyn at the upcoming PTA election. I can picture women in the aisles fist-pumping when she embraces her inner Bad Mom and drops science on her brats like, 'You're not a slow learner, you're just entitled.' (Paging Dr. Phil to referee!)

Yet, while the struggle is between Good Moms and Bad Moms , the script is stuffed with so much wish fulfillment that Kunis is, more truthfully, a Unicorn Mom who does manage to have it all — including a Hunky Six-Packed Dream Widower (Jay Hernandez), who exists only to run her bubble baths and plead to orally pleasure her again . He's the beefcake version of, well, Mila Kunis, who has suffered that 'magical girlfriend' role for her entire career. I'll give her this one, but I also empathize with any mothers who leave the theater trashing a box of hand-decorated cupcakes and wailing about their new impossible goal.

Amy Nicholson Amy Nicholson is MTV's chief film critic and the host of the podcasts 'Skillset' and 'The Canon.' Her interests include hot dogs, standard poodles, Tom Cruise, and comedies about the utter futility of existence.