Bad Moms taps into the growing rejection of motherhood as something precious, a state of being so delicate that few can really achieve or even deserve.
Like the bedtime book Go the F--- to Sleep and its marvelous recording by Samuel L. Jackson or the Free Range Kids blog (like chickens, kids are happier when not caged in), the movie from The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore calls a foul on sanctimommy refs.
You've got to pick up the kids from school — and on time would be nice for once — make gluten-free cupcakes for the bake sale, go to the PTA meetings after you drop off the tykes at their Mandarin Chinese lessons, all while keeping a career going strong and a tush still firm from spinning class. This is a game that's not worth playing.
I was leery of a movie that seems to be pitting women against each other, especially when their battle is over different approaches. But I know the judgment is real from my own parenting blunders, and this movie makes great fun of the anxiety.
"I'm doing the best that I can," doe-eyed Mila Kunis as Amy Mitchell pleads after another stressed-out day of failing.
"That's what makes it even sadder," retorts her stressed-out 12-year-old daughter, who wants to be a starter on the soccer team because it will look good on her college application.
Kunis, currently expecting her second child with Ashton Kutcher, stars in Bad Moms with fellow celebrity parents Kristen Bell, playing an exhausted stay-at-home mom of four, and Kathryn Hahn, who channels Hangover high-jinks as reckless single mom Carla.
Five minutes into motherhood every mom finds out her choices are getting picked over and questioned. Breast or bottle? Work or stay-at-home? Home school or private academy?
I was among the moms at the Tampa Bay Times who contributed to a parenting blog years ago. We used it as a sounding board for hot topics and sharing tips in a nonjudgmental "this is what worked for me" tone.
Oh, how naive we were.
I once wrote a post about how I, worried leaving a baby in a hot car could happen to anyone, always put my purse on the floor below the car seat as the backstop for my brain.
I was stunned at the wave of withering criticism I got for offering what I thought was a helpful suggestion. "Funny how women want babies then forget about them," read one comment.
Kunis' character finally reaches a breaking point and tells the queen bee PTA president (Christina Applegate) something she never hears: No, I will not be at the PTA meeting nor will I be making treats for the bake sale that have no eggs, no butter, no salt, no wheat and no nuts. She's bringing store-bought doughnut holes, to the horror of Applegate's character and her mommy minions (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo, writer of Bridesmaids).
It's a shame that it feels revolutionary to tell women not to feel guilty about taking time for themselves or having fun with their friends instead of serving the interests of children at all times. Bradley Cooper's character in The Hangover was a dad, but that wasn't even an issue in his hard-partying ways. So it makes sense that a male writing team would tell women to give themselves a break and act more like, well, dads.
The R-rated Bad Moms channels the raunch in a liberating, hilarious way. It urges moms to get out of the competition of even trying to be a good mom. It turns out kids can actually benefit from getting their own breakfast and making their own science projects.
So if being a bad mom means I see my friends more and my kid can make me eggs in the morning, everybody wins.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @SharonKWn.