In this new comedy, Amy has a seemingly perfect life - a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she's over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she's about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities - going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence - putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.
This is one of those films that I was a little apprehensive about. On the one hand, I love Mila Kunis (she is probably one of my top actresses, up there with Kate Beckinsale), Kristen Bell (I really miss Veronica Mars, adorable!), and Christina Applegate (who doesn't love Anchorman?!). But on the other hand, a near enough 100% female cast, combined with comedy...well I've been less than impressed with past attempts at female comedy films (not to mention, the title of the film tends to make me think it's not really targeted at males, which is the gender that I am a part of).
I don't know why I don't generally enjoy female comedy. Maybe it's too on the nose, maybe the topics are things that I don't normally joke about, maybe I'm sexist (I'm just saying. I don't want to be, but I'm pretty sure the world affects what I consider humorous, so there is a chance that I subconsciously won't give it an honest chance). But before I get into the review, I will give you two disclaimers; 1) I really love Mila Kunis at the moment. I have a hell of a crush on her, and I could probably watch her shovel an offal pit and find it entertaining. 2) I was watching this film with the flatmates over a few beers, and ended up about 6 beers deep by the end of the film, so there is a chance that I may not be as critical as I would otherwise be.
Anyways, on with the review. I was honestly surprised by this film. It started off slow, and followed the usual tropes that I would expect of a "chick flick" genre of film. It felt manufactured, and the cast didn't quite gel as well as I wanted; none of it really felt genuine. Almost like a poorly directed episode of desperate housewives. But once the overall introduction and internal narrative was finished (while she is incredibly attractive, Mila Kunis' narrative voice does leave a lot to be desired) the film changed for me. It changed from being a sappy, whiny, complaining film, and the protagonist's behaviour fell more in line with something that I could empathise with; an overworked human being, underappreciated in employment and with family, who ends up under extreme pressure from the stress.
So from that point on I was emotionally invested in the protagonist, and relished in seeing how she coped with the stresses and overcame the events and obstacles in her path. While a female oriented film, I found the comedy to cater more towards a male audience (be prepared for a multitude of jokes and inaccurate information regarding perceptions around male genitalia, including some rather interesting interpretations on dealing with uncircumcised...well if you don't know what I am speaking of, then you are too young to understand).
Halfway through the film, there was a slight change in the direction of the plot. It again started to follow the generic formula for a chick flick, and I started to lose interest, but within 20 minutes of so, the direction meandered back onto a path that I enjoyed following, and empathised with more. The film gave me many "laugh out loud" moments, many "face-palms", and many cries of frustration. I was truly invested, and wanted to see it through to the end. Mila Kunis was really the only member of the cast that properly sold the performance however. Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn were both enjoyable, and provided a source of laughs, but never truly came across as authentic. Christina Applegate, never came across as genuine either, but provided a good antagonist, whose successes fueled my investment in the protagonist's goals.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. It felt like the humour that I was used to, despite it being provided by the female sex; which was a refreshing and enjoyable experience. But I did feel it was a little too disproportionate in the equality, in my opinion. I don't know whether it was a deliberate decision, or whether that is just how things work in the United States, but I was shocked to see so little representation of males at the Parent Teacher Association meetings. I myself would like to think I would take an interest in my child's educational experience (if I had a child), so it was odd to see little to no males involved in many of the PTA scenes. The film was still enjoyable despite this, but it was something that I did observe and take note of during the film.
The end credits scenes themselves are hilarious. I missed maybe 40% of the scenes during the credits because I was on the floor laughing too loudly about the discussions between the actresses and their real-life mothers (I laughed the loudest during one anecdote featuring Al Pacino). Overall, it ticked enough boxes to be something that I would see again. There was enough innuendo and jokes for me to have missed a few; enough for me to enjoy it and see something new next time I watch it.
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