Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 2016. STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Media, BillBlock Media, Suzanne Todd Productions. Screenplay by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore. Cinematography by Jim Denault. Produced by Bill Block,Suzanne Todd. Music by Christopher Lennertz. Production Design by Marcia Hinds. Costume Design by Julia Caston. Film Editing by Emma E. Hickox,James Thomas.
Mila Kunis got married at twenty and before she knew it was the mother of two, now raising her kids with her immature husband while trying to manage a career. Juggling mom, wife and boss duties means she can never be anywhere on time, and it doesn’t make her feel better that the wealthy and ice-cold Christina Applegate runs the P.T.A. like she’s the ruthless head of a major corporation. A particularly exhausting day eventually prompts Kunis to give up trying and stop caring so much about the impossibility of being a perfect mom and, finding herself in the same boat with an overtired mother of four (Kristen Bell) and a hard-partying single mom with a potty mouth (Kathryn Hahn), decides she’s had enough.
These three fun gals enter into a war of wills with the bullying Applegate, Kunis running for P.T.A. president on the platform that she and her fellow mothers need to get back to their own lives and not be ruled entirely by peanut allergies and soccer practice start times. Since this is from the writers of The Hangover, however, these new friends aren’t going to get to this noble goal without some nights on the town featuring very bad behaviour; that’s what you hope, anyway, but we never quite reach the level of missing teeth or errant tigers.
The masterful comedic skills of Hahn are almost a problem in this otherwise muddled comedy that has plenty of laugh out loud moments but is mostly coasting along on the smug assumption that it doesn’t need to try that hard. Hahn is so funny and sharp that it only serves to point out that Bell, who is a wonderful talent, isn’t given enough to do, while Kunis, an appealing and well-meaning performer, is just not that complicated or interesting. There’s a lot of silly, provocative humour that is at odds with the unnecessarily sincere moments of real respect for the challenges of motherhood, revealing a film trying to have it all: it’s almost as if these guys either think that women can’t handle the harsh line of their previous films or wanted to make a Bridesmaids that you can take your mother to, riding the middle of the road to distracting effect. A conclusion that involves the stars being interviewed with their real-life mothers is an absolute delight.