Review – Some Real Mothers… (“Bad Moms”)

For all the mommies out there in the world, we salute you! From the scribes who gave us The Hangover, here’s a semi-raunchy film about three moms that have had it with PTA’s, their kids and the rotten men in their lives. In other words, it’s a women-empowerment movie written by two guys. Who knew?!


Struggling and harried working mom, Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis) is having a bad day. A real bad day. Her terminally dim-bulb husband (David Walton) is having an on-line affair, her kids (Oona Lawrence and Emjay Anthony) are being royal pains, her younger boss at her coffee company is a super-dweeb idiot, and now the tyrannical PTA ruler from hell, Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), has demanded she show up for a PTA bake sale meeting! That does it! Amy snaps and decides to become a ‘bad mom’ along with two other moms that have had it too: timid and needy Kiki (Kristen Bell) and brazen foul-mouthed Carla (Kathryn Hahn).

Kicking her lazy hubby out, Amy subs her mini-van for his gorgeous fire-engine red 1970 Dodge Challenger and blows off her job, gets drunk with her new pals, and tries to score with guys at a bar, only to meet up with the single hottest man from school, Jesse Harkness (Jay Hernandez). Amy’s new found freedom and lifestyle has caught the ire of Gwendolyn, who not only hates her anti-establishment attitude, but the way she ignores the PTA. But when Gwen gets Amy’s daughter banned from playing soccer, the gloves comes off and Amy decides to run against her in the upcoming PTA election.

Election parties are held and while Gwen has Martha Stewart at hers, Amy just has pizza and ‘cheap wine’. But don’t discount the power of mommies going wild when Amy’s party turns into a crazy all-nighter that everyone goes to (until 11pm–it’s a school night after all). Gwen has only a few days left until the election and decides to do some pretty devious things to make Amy look like an unfit mother. Amy, Carla, and Kiki decide to ban together and go to the PTA election meeting to meet Gwen head-on.

Okay, so the finale is a cheesy tacked-on fairy tale of silliness, but it’s all good. Even the cheesier end credits with the real-life mommies of the cast members candidly talking about their daughters can be forgiven. The real fun here is in the tight and hilarious script by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who also directed. Reminiscent of the Tomlin/Fonda/Parton starrer, 9 to 5, this woman-rule-the-world flick is outrageously funny, thanks largely due in part to Kathryn Hahn’s epic comedy timing. Kunis may have the starring lead and Bell is downright cute, but Hahn steals every scene she’s in.

What the guys did in The Hangover, the moms do here with racy talk about guys’ body parts (the ‘uncircumcised’ scene is hysterical), catty talk about each other, and motherhood reality-checks that are both sincere and profound. The kids are also very good as well. Laurence, a Mathilda Broadway vet, is very expressive and Anthony is great as he was in Chef. Also, look for several Lucas-Moore standards in their direction: slow-mo action/party scenes with loud hip-hop music playing in the background. The guys use this to their great advantage with the girls, especially in a supermarket (the best of them all) and the parties.

Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978)

Being an angry mom and acting out against the school’s PTA isn’t a new thing, just ask Jeannie C. Reilly. In 1968 she sang the wildly popular country hit, The Harper Valley PTA, about a mini-skirt wearing divorced mom who goes ballistic during a meeting of the school’s PTA after received a scathing letter. This movie is based on that song.

Barbara Eden (from her iconic I Dream of Jeannie TV role) looking buxom and hot in her short skirts and low-cut tops plays Stella Johnson, the carefree divorcee whose teenage daughter Dee (Susan Swift) brings home a letter one day from the Harper Valley PTA. It trashes Stella for her dresses, her moral codes and, what’s worse, if she doesn’t change her ways to the board’s liking, Dee will be expelled from school! Infuriated by the PTA board’s superiority and hypocrisy, Stella storms the PTA meeting that day, and proceeds to out them all by publicly exposing THEIR hidden skeletons for the large gathering to hear. The only board member to agree with her is Willis Newton (Ronny Cox).

Well, Stella’s retaliation is swift and the board plans to drive her out of town, so Stella and her BFF, Alice Finley (Nanette Fabray) decide to exact revenge on each one of the board members. Sorta like Kill Bill, but without all the massive bloodshed and body parts, Stella and Alice concoct wild schemes, like getting Bobby Taylor (John Fieldler) to be arrested for being publicly naked, lecherous playboy Kirby Baker (Louis Nye) getting beaten up by a karate girl, alcoholic Otis Harper (Pat Paulsen) whose house is destroyed by a herd of pink-colored elephants, and vindictive Olive Grover (Molly Dodd), who not only gets arrested for embezzlement, but has a load of horse manure dumped on her.

With board members dropping like flies, a new PTA board must be elected and that’s where Stella steps up, but evil forces are still afoot to keep her from being elected. The final act goes crazy with twin sisters, kidnapping attempts, people being framed for stealing money, and other nutty stuff. Needless to say, Stella wins the election to the new PTA board, the old board members are all murdered in a televised execution show (not really), and Stella and Willis get together as you knew they would.

Written by George Edwards and Barry Schneider as a goofy, cheesy, made-for-TV-ish type movie, it’s just fun to watch for all the weirdness that happens. Director Richard Bennett shot this like an extended TV show and it worked for that purpose, especially given the incredibly quick 28 day shooting schedule. Three of those days, BTW, were shut down because Nanette Fabray was knocked over by a spooked elephant and received a concussion and bruises! The acting is gloriously silly and over-the-top with Eden looking smoking hot with those long legs and mini-skirts. The only hiccup is Susan Swift who plays daughter Dee with all the emotional range of a ham sandwich.

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