by Jess Burnquist
This is not a movie review. I know there are mixed reviews as well as some vehement hatred for the new release, Bad Moms. I don't care about that. I didn't see this film to fill my morning with art. Nor did I see this film to glean some parenting information or to locate a new angle of the feminine lens. I went to this movie for fun. I went to this movie on a Saturday morning accompanied by three other mothers — two of whom I teach with, and another whom I've known since 4th grade. We attended an 11:30 matinee after indulging in some pancakes at a crowded and cheesy IHOP in the same complex as the theater. Meeting on a Saturday morning isn't easy. My friends are parents of children ranging from 6 years of age all the way to my oldest, who is 17. There were practices to miss and household tasks that needed to be done whether alone, or with supervised children, or by our partners. It is also the week before school resumes for most of our kids, so as parents and especially as teachers this is a critical weekend to tie up loose ends before the school year begins at its regular frantic pace.
Still, we did it! We managed to get out of the house and into the world to watch a film for pure entertainment. And in my opinion, it delivered just that. If you have been on the fence about seeing Bad Moms, I strongly recommend that you do it. Make a day or night of it.
Gather your girlfriends/mothers/sisters/daughters and laugh together for two hours. Leave your politics, your gender ethics, your intersectionality crusades on pause and just be together in a theater composed of mostly other women. Women who during my morning viewing hooted and hollered at jokes made about how much we adore and simultaneously suck at motherhood. Women who during my morning viewing sang along to the soundtrack and unabashedly said things like, "Oh my f-ing god, I feel this." Women who spun around in their seats to high-five each other during a grocery store scene that somehow fulfilled a fantasy we didn't know we had — but which we clearly identified with in a communal epiphany of sorts.
The world is insane right now. America is either regressing or going through some serious growing pains. All I know is that sitting in a theater with women I knew and women I'll never know to laugh with abandon was healing. Our smiles upon leaving the theater and our knowing looks — the ones that said, "Yeah, I totally related to so many of those scenes and I can tell you did too" was nothing short of delightful.
The fact that I left the theater energized and joyous at the awareness that some of my biggest parenting faux pas had just been reenacted by an all female cast was also pretty fantastic. Ultimately, our time in that theater felt like a slice of grade school bonding or summer camp — not even the sleep-away kind. Give yourselves a treat and let go the vigilance of living up to some noble but demanding expectations. Go order a popcorn and some Milkduds. Wear comfy clothes and recline in your theater chair without worrying about a muffin top. Go laugh with your friends because life is short and the things we worry about will still be here after the credits roll.