Follow TV Tropes


Film / Bad Moms

Go To

Bad Moms is a 2016 comedy film written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (screenwriters of The Hangover) and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn.

Amy Mitchell (Kunis) is an overworked, underappreciated mother of two. After a particularly stressful day, she decides to rebel against the tyrannical PTA president of her children's school, Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate). Joining her are repressed housewife Kiki (Bell) and brazen, vulgar single mom Carla (Hahn).

A sequel, A Bad Moms Christmas, was released in 2017.


This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The PTA is a version of this. It apparently has the power over hiring and firing, the curriculum and even setting the length of the school day. Even the principal is terrified of Gwendolyn.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • The Alcoholic: Carla.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Every cast member shows a healthy sexual appetite, but Carla's brazen hussiness is a sight to behold.
  • Alpha Bitch: Gwendolyn is an adult version. She's blonde, rich, attractive, The Perfectionist, and always hangs around with her two flunkies, but rules over the mothers instead of the students.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: The moms of the main trio, introduced in the sequel. Ruth annoys Amy by being a critical and perfectionist show-off, Kiki gets downright irked at Sandy being overwhelming and smothering, and Carla... well, she doesn't care that mom Isis is a hedonist like herself, but only that she never comes unless it's to get money for gambling.
  • Advertisement:
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Gwendolyn loses the PTA election, she reveals to Amy that her life is actually horrible: her husband was arrested for embezzling money from a children's charity, she's addicted to Vicodin, her brother-in-law joined ISIS, and her DVR stopped recording Castle.
  • Book-Ends: At the start a PTA parent knocks on Amy's car window to tell her something and observes that she is a wreck. This is straight after Amy finds out about her husband and is trying to hold the family, and herself, together. Near the end, Amy knocks on a PTA parent's car window and finds much the same thing.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Dylan is lazy and lets his mom do all schoolwork for him because he claims to be a slow learner, but once he starts trying, he does pretty well.
  • Bumbling Dad: Amy's husband Mike is a Manchild par excellence.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Early on Amy walks in on Mike masturbating in front of his computer. She assumes that he's watching porn and doesn't mind — but then she realizes he's cheating on her with a camgirl. Doubles as Cheating with the Milkman, since playing a dairy farmer is her gimmick.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: When Amy, Carla, and Kiki drunkenly wreak havoc in a supermarket, a mother is shown covering the eyes of her son.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In the supermarket scene, the characters briefly stop to coo over a baby in a stroller.
  • Demoted to Extra: Gwendolyn, Stacy and Vicki only appear in one scene of the sequel where Amy is forced by her mother to go caroling... dressed as Scrooge!
  • The Ditz: Carla's eldest child, Jackson, still watches Sesame Street in his teens, and still doesn't get it.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: Amy's daughter Jane participates in lots of extracurricular activities such as football and even Mandarin. It turns out that the latter only stresses her.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Dylan and Jane, respectively, fit this dynamic to a T.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Jane has grown quite the potty mouth in the sequel.
  • Functional Addict: Gwendolyn admits that she's addicted to Vicodin. Somehow, until she confesses it to Amy, she kept it a complete secret from everybody she knew and has a seemingly perfect life.
  • Freudian Excuse: A Bad Moms Christmas introduces the three mothers of the main trio, and it's clear why they started the original like that: Amy tried too hard for growing up with a Control Freak (who in turn, was also treated like that by her mother), Kiki only cared for her children because her mother was overbearing, and Carla is a neglectful hedonist because mom is the same way.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Carla is a clear case of this, saying she recognizes Amy for being "that chick who picks up my kid from school when I forget\don't want to". And Amy and Kiki decide to use her as an example to make themselves less stressed.
  • Housewife: Kiki. Her life entirely revolves around her children and she has no friends before meeting Amy and Carla.
  • How We Got Here: The sequel starts with a dejected Amy amidst destroyed decoration, claiming to have ruined Christmas. Eventually it gets there, a lavish party thrown by Amy's mom behind her back which leads Amy to fight her, expel her and make her kids sad that after driving daddy away, Amy is now doing the same with grandma.
  • The Lad-ette: Carla drinks, smokes pot, has sex with random guys, and such.
  • Long List: Gwendolyn's list of the "toxic ingredients" that are not allowed at the bake sale.
    Gwendolyn: No BPA, no MSG, no BHA, no BHT. Plus no soy, no sesame, and, of course, no nuts or eggs or milk or butter or salt or sugar or wheat.
  • Mama Bear
    • Amy. Her entire election campaign is driven by this trope. She runs for PTA president because Gwendolyn, the current president, got Jane terminated from the soccer team. After a series of personal blows, she decides it's not worth pursuing the election just to make a point until Gwendolyn puts drugs in her daughter's locker, framing her as a drug addict and resulting in her getting kicked off all extracurricular activities. Then she pulls herself to together to beat Gwendolyn.
    • Carla. She may be a neglectful mother, but she will do anything to protect her son. She also invoked this trope to motivate Amy into not quitting.
      "This is about standing up to the bitch that hurt your little girl! Now, are you gonna sit here and let Gwendolyn get away with this shit? Don't do it, Amy... You are gonna rise up like a small, little white Apollo Creed and you are gonna look at Gwendolyn and you are gonna say, 'You can do what you want to me, I don’t care, throw it at me, but you fucked with my daughter, and now I have to fight you. I will fight you in the playground. I will fight you in the cafeteria. I will even fight you in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s. But I will have justice for my little girl, because I am a fucking mom and we protect our young.' So get up off this couch, turn off 12 Years a Slave and let’s body slam this bitch."
    • Kiki:
      "I would literally die for them right now."
  • Manipulative Bitch: Gwendolyn, again.
  • Montage: Used to establish our heroes' rebellion in its nascent stage.
  • Naked on Arrival: Aforementioned camgirl. Not really surprising.
  • Nervous Wreck: Jane is constantly stressed because she pressures herself to do well at everything.
  • Parental Neglect: Amy first started off as a caring devoted mother but she became overworked to the point she gets angry at her children for relying on her and spends more time relaxing and spoiling herself all the meanwhile insulting and berating her kids when they ask her to resume motherly duties.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: Amy walks in on her husband having videochat sex with a woman from halfway across the country. She kicks him out of the house. This is just one in the long line of straws that finally cause her to snap. They do try counseling at one point, but even the therapist admits that they're probably better off on their own. This frees her up for a very attractive widowed dad at her kids' school.
  • Power Trio: Amy is The Kirk, Kiki is The Spock, and Carla is The McCoy.
  • Real Person Cameo: Martha Stewart plays herself. In the sequel, there's Kenny G as himself.
  • Really Gets Around: Carla's promiscuity is the source of several jokes.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Jane is kicked off the soccer team, Jane and Dylan get fed up with their mother and move out to go be with their father.
  • Sexless Marriage: Amy says she and Mike haven't had sex in years.
  • The Shrink: Amy and Mike go to a couples counselor in an attempt to save their marriage. She tells them that every marriage is savable, but after hearing them talk for five minutes, she decides that theirs isn't, and it's basically all his fault.
    • In the sequel, Kiki goes to one with her mother Sandy, complaining that her attempts at being close to her daughter are downright invasive.
  • The Slacker: Dylan starts out as this. He does poorly in school due to his laziness and lets his mother do all his schoolwork.
  • Spark of the Rebellion: Amy publicly quits the PTA after Gwendolyn wants to appoint her to the "bake sale police force." Her act inspires Kiki and Carla, and they team up to challenge Gwendolyn's rule.
  • Stereotype Flip: In conception. The father who acts irresponsibly is a far more predominant character type than the mother who does.
  • Stress Vomit: Amy refuses to take Jane to Mandarin class after Jane tells her that it's so stressful that it makes the kids throw up.
  • Title Drop: After our three heroes decide to embark on their rebellion against idealized motherhood as embodied by Gwendolyn, they toast each other with a round of "To bad moms!"
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Jane is definitely more mature than Manchild Mike, and despite being only twelve years old, she's more responsible than Amy after she decided to be a "Bad Mom" and became extremely carefree.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Amy catches Mike cheating on her with another woman over the Internet, which leads to their divorce.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: