"I'm Amy Mitchell, and I'm a mom," Mila Kunis announces, as images of Kunis being Amy Mitchell being a mom flash by: stressed-out, disheveled, chauffeuring her kids to school, to soccer practice, late for teacher conferences, exasperated in exercise class, playing catch-up at her job with a "super-hip" coffee roaster.
It won't take long for Amy - who is married to a porn-distracted oaf - to screech to a stop and ask herself, "Why am I doing all of this?"
Commiserating with two similarly taxed women - the talented Kristen Bell, the talented Kathryn Hahn - over shots of blended whiskey (McCleary's, the faux brand that John Travolta downs in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction - talk about homages), Amy becomes the me-first heroine of this mildly amusing, moderately raunchy, mostly schematic comedy. It's called Bad Moms.
Cowritten and codirected by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writing team behind The Hangover franchise, Bad Moms finds Amy going up against the prissy, hissy Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), who runs the PTA with military precision - and a militant disdain for frazzled working mothers like Amy. Amy also eventually comes up against the "hot widower" Jessie (Jay Hernandez), but in ways that are far more enriching.
Juggling children, careers, and relationships is certainly no easy feat, and anyone who believes that women and men are on a level playing field when it comes to these issues should consider signing up for juggling lessons from the nearest working mom. Lucas and Scott consider the inequities to some extent, but really, they're more interested in jokes about the logistics of sex with uncircumcised men.
Kunis, rebounding from the disastrous Jupiter Ascending (an unintentional comedy if ever there was one), demonstrates an easygoing comic flair, even when - which is most of the time - Amy's predicaments are anything but easygoing. Bell plays a tightly wound homebody with little twins and another kid and a husband who expects her to do everything. Hahn (also in Captain Fantastic right now) is a happy strumpet, eager to share the news that she once had sex with Vin Diesel, or someone who looked like him.
Sophisticated hilarity, to be sure.
**1/2 (Out of four stars)
yDirected by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. With Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate,
and Jay Hernandez. Distributed by STX.
yRunning time: 1 hour, 41 mins.
yParent's guide: R (profanity, nudity, adult themes).
yPlaying at: Area theaters.