"Bad Moms" opened recently, and not since "Fifty Shades of Grey" have so many moms' nights out been gleefully choreographed around the opening of a movie.
Which is proof that we really, really needed "Bad Moms."
"Fifty Shades," which I read (regrettably) but didn't see (mercifully), is the story of a naive young virgin dating an emotionally closed-off snore who hijacks her independence and exploits her vulnerabilities without revealing a single one of his own.
As Donald Trump would say: Sad.
"Bad Moms" is not sad. "Bad Moms" is hilarious.
You probably know the premise, but just in case: Mila Kunis plays a mom (Amy) who is overwhelmed by the usual stuff - busy kids, barely present husband, obtuse boss, judge-y peers - and unwilling to keep up the insane pace. She befriends a couple of like-minded pals, played by Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn, to join her in shaking off the chains of modern motherhood and dismantling the matriarchy - a trio of PTA overachievers played by Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo.
It's completely absurd and not at all plausible. And yet, I could relate to just about every single thing that Amy and her pals experienced - in my own toned-down, real-life version of events.
The night I saw an early screening of "Bad Moms," the theater was packed with girlfriends who arrived in packs and posed for selfies and cheered rhapsodically at the end. I imagine similar scenes playing out at theaters across the nation. I'm invited to a dinner and "Bad Moms" outing, to which 14 other moms have committed.
"Fifty Shades" - billed, for reasons I'll never understand, as "mommy porn" - inspired similar outings. That came out in February 2015. We're way overdue for another (better) moms' night out movie. One in which we recognize ourselves on screen.
All too often, what passes for a "chick flick" is actually just another tale of a woman trying to find the most appealing version of herself, so she can land the guy. Or get over the guy. Or win back the guy. Or change the guy. (How many times have we watched an actor utter some version of "You make me want to be a better man" on screen? Whee! Mission accomplished! Now what about what we want?)
"Bad Moms" is about what we want. It's a group of girlfriends taking back their lives from the forces they've allowed to sabotage their self-esteem and sap their joy.
It's a hoot. And it'll be, I'm quite certain, a hit. And if you're catching it with your mom posse, maybe I'll see you there.
Watch a video of Heidi Stevens and film critic Michael Phillips discussing the movie, "Bad Moms.”
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