In her review today of Bad Moms, Alexandra MacAaron writes:

Unfortunately, Bad Moms isn’t a complete victory for feminists . . . The women’s issues are oversimplified. Plus, in an effort to compete with (or at least share the plunder of) such bawdy comedies as Hangover and Bridesmaids, Bad Moms is more off-color than it needs to be.

Laura Bradley of Vanity Fair posed a similar question yesterday as she took stock of the comedies starring women this year: “This summer, actresses have bent over backwards to show that they can be funny and rowdy. Are they done proving it yet?”

It might sound like an odd critique. After all, shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that women can be just as raunchy and absurd as men in comedies? Absolutely! We should, women can, and that’s fine! What Bradley is asking us to consider is not whether women can or cannot be rowdy and funny, but what might be the agenda for their off-color comedy. In other words, can women just be funny and raunchy without always having to make a statement that women can be funny and raunchy. Bradley continues:

Must every movie starring funny women set out to prove something about women as a whole? Men certainly don’t bear that burden on-screen. The Hangover, which came from the same writers as Bad Moms, might have hinted at themes of male bonding, but was far less concerned with sending a message about masculinity than Bad Moms is about explicating the burdens of motherhood . . .  As more and more female-led comedies continue to pour out of Hollywood, it might be worth considering why the knee-jerk reaction is to include gender subversion in every single one. Today’s funny women have a lot more tools in their arsenal than just that; perhaps it’s time we let them show us.

Read the full critique at Vanity Fair.


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