Movie comedy Bad Moms takes a humorous look at the trials and tribulations of motherhood, in particular the snobbishness displayed by some highly competitive parents and the difficulties of living up to high expectations while juggling home life and a career.
Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Oz the Great and Powerful), Kathryn Hahn (Transparent, Parks and Recreation) and Kristen Bell (Frozen, Veronica Mars, Heroes) are the "bad mums" of the title, while Christina Applegate (Married With Children) and Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix, Gotham) are the overbearing perfectionists who run the local parent-teacher association. All of them are mothers in real life.
Speaking at the film’s Los Angeles premiere, Kunis, who is pregnant with her second child, paid tribute to her co-stars.
“This group of women is unbelievably inspirational,” she said. “When I signed on to the project, it was the first movie I decided to do after having Wyatt and I was so nervous about going back to work with these 17-hour-long days – and if not for these girls, I don’t know how I’d have got through it.”
The film follows the mis-adventures of three mothers, Amy (Kunis), Kiki (Bell) and Carla (Hahn), who have had enough of trying to live up to impossibly high parenting standards and decide to break away from their responsibilities and have some fun for a change.
However, their attempt to break free is looked on with disdain by strait-laced Gwendolyn (Applegate) and Stacy (Pinkett Smith).
“I’m more of a Gwendolyn than I knew,” says Applegate, whose daughter, Sadie Grace, is 5 years old. “I’m very type A, I’m really controlling about everything, and through this movie, I’ve learnt that I really have to step back and have some time for me, because you can sometimes lose your identity from trying to be perfect.”
“The good news about this movie is you can take out the word ‘bad’ and put just ‘real’ mums. None of these ladies are bad mums,” said mother-of-two Hahn, who plays the most carefree of the characters
“I certainly play a character, however, who is certainly unshackled from feeling any sort of guilt or shame about her ‘me time’, which is 24 hours a day.”
Although the film is centred on women and motherhood, it was written and directed by two men, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who wrote the first Hangover film, which was released in 2009.
“You never would have known it was two guys who wrote this script when you read it,” says Bell. “It was so authentic. It was so accurate – they nailed it.”
Bell previously offered some real-life advice for parents who face similar pressures.
During an appearance on the Today show on American TV, she said that mummy blogs and other parenting sites should come with a simple message: "As long as you love your kid, you won't fail."
Bell said she loved the script for Bad Moms because it pokes "fun at this unrealistic, unattainable idea of being a perfect mom that we've all felt".
Bell has two daughters, 3-year-old Lincoln and 1-year-old Delta, with actor husband Dax Shepard.
• Reuters, with additional reporting by AP