Female-fronted comedies have been big business in recent years, with movies like Bridesmaids pulling in huge box office and a new generation of comedy stars like Melissa McCarthy redefining what audiences expect from women comedians. And while there have been setbacks (the highly touted all-women remake of Ghostbusters made headlines this week after being declared the most-disliked trailer in YouTube history) it seems clear that this fresh force in mainstream comedy will continue to grow on audiences and critics alike. In particular, R-rated raunchy comedies, once tagged as an exclusively male genre, has seen an explosion in popularity in the wake of hits like Spy and Trainwreck.
Now comes the red band trailer for the newest entry in the genre, Bad Moms, with Mila Kunis as the leader of three stressed-out, rebellious homemakers.
As told by the trailer, Kunis stars as an overworked suburban mom whose sanity has been stretched to the breaking point by demanding kids and a difficult job. But she reaches her breaking point when confronted with pressure to conform to the standards of the “perfect” mothers who run the show at her childrens’ school functions. Lashing out in a tirade against unrealistic demands placed on her, she becomes a hero to a pair of fellow “done with it” mothers (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn), and the three become friends as they team up to make life hell for “perfect mom” leader Christina Applegate.
Based on the trailer, the expected hallmarks of the genre all present: Raucous parties, badly behaved kids, worse-behaved adults, copious drug and alcohol references, and lots of sex gags. But subject-specific humor looks to be a key focus as well, with physical comedy scenes highlighting Kunis suffering a succession of automotive accidents trying to multitask while driving and the titular “bad moms” sharing brutally honest appraisals of their less-than-perfect children (“My son failed study hall!”). The overarching point — that society demands the impossible of mothers and punishes them harshly for stepping out of line — looks to be well made, but with plenty of laughs to keep things from getting too preachy.
Notably, while there are male characters in the cast (including husbands and fathers), they aren’t the main characters and barely appear present in the trailer — suggesting an approach similar to the The Women where the staging of scenes emphasizes that the female characters’ story is happening primarily in spaces unique to them and often overlooked in other films. Most of the women in the main cast are themselves mothers in real life, which likely adds an extra dimension to their comic routines onscreen.
The film was originally set up as a Judd Apatow feature with Leslie Mann set to star, but the pair departed following scheduling conflicts. Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover) directed and co-wrote the original screenplay to the film, which will be distributed by Paramount and STX Entertainment in the U.S. with international rights already having been secured in 2015 at the Cannes Film Festival.
Bad Moms will be in theaters on July 29, 2016.