Bad Moms (2016) ☆ 1/2

Yes, when political correctness becomes hypocrisy or lunacy, it should be ridiculed.  Bad Moms lampoons the idea that a woman who chooses to work is then, by necessity, a poor mother.  But think about that for a moment.  Working mothers are bad?  Since when?  This is an idea that might have had traction before I was born, but movies and television shows have fought against that stereotype since at least the 1960s.  I thought this argument was over.

Apparently not, for in writers-directors Jon Lucas’ and Scott Moore’s film, Amy (Mila Kunis) is a harried mother whose part-time job definitely interferes with her parenting.  And when uber-mom Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), the president of the P. T. A., goes on the rampage, Amy gives up, actually forcing her children to fend for themselves at breakfast.  Two other moms, recluse Kiki (Kristen Bell) and slutty Carla (Kathryn Hahn), join Amy in thumbing their noses at the overprotective rules laid down by Gwendolyn, but few of the other mothers seem to care.  The presidency of the P. T. A. becomes the battleground as Amy challenges the status quo, determined to free her own kids, and everyone else’s, from Gwendolyn’s tyranny.

If it wasn’t for the constant profanity, vulgarity and incongruity of the script I would have believed I had time-traveled back in time to witness a weird parallel-universe version of 9 to 5 meets Mr. Mom.  This movie seems like it was unearthed from a time capsule, only to be overdubbed with sexual innuendo and laced with public humiliation.  Like movies from back then, it contains a certain sweetness because we know these mothers really love their kids, even while they are making fun of them and belittling their lazy husbands.  It is an odd mix, and not one for which I care.

It has become fashionable in recent years to celebrate bad behavior.  Bad Teacher, Bad Santa, Dirty Grandpa, Bridesmaids and other would-be comedies too numerous to mention have tackled role models and slung them into the cinematic mud.  There’s nothing wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld used to say.  Occasionally it’s funny; Kathryn Hahn in particular debases herself with aplomb.  But, apart from the wacky premise, there is just too much mud for me.  Stacy (Jada Pinkett Smith) talking about wanting studly parent Jessie (Jay Hernandez) to abuse her behind is not comic gold.  This movie is completely tone-deaf as well as untimely.  ☆ 1/2.  4 August 2016.

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