FilmDrunk

Sundance 2017: ‘Fun Mom Dinner’ Is A Star-Studded, Ill-Advised Ripoff Of ‘Bad Moms’

The bluntest way I can sum up Fun Mom Dinner is that it’s like a bad remake of a movie I hated to begin with. It goes exactly where Bad Moms already went — which was itself essentially a secular remake of Moms Night Out — and does it poorly. And so we now have three nearly identical films, none very good. Did the world really need another slow-motion montage of domesticated white people letting loose? I say no.

Katie Aselton (The League) plays the main mom, and the fact that she ends up with baby shit on her face before the opening title should’ve functioned like a giant blinking sign that read “DO NOT STAY FOR THE REST OF THIS FILM” for anyone smarter than me. Also, do human babies really throw their shit like monkeys? And it hits people in the face? This isn’t comedy, it’s horror.

Instead I stayed, for a film that was at once nauseatingly mundane (please God not another “runnin’ errands!” sequence set to jaunty music) and strangely hard to believe. A film this painfully grounded shouldn’t feel so far-fetched. Even if you like dull mom humor more than I do (and that’s admittedly about 99% of the world), nothing in Fun Mom Dinner really works, even on the level of basic construction.

As we know from Bad Moms, This Is 40, and umpteen other films, one of the requirements of this genre is that the main mom get flirted on by some hot young stud, thus achieving the dual purpose of making her feel like her old self, and making her husband jealous enough to want to bang her good again. In Fun Mom Dinner, that young stud is played by Adam Levine, which is basically unforgivable casting unless he’s present to make fun of the concept of Adam Levine, as in Popstar or Klown Forever. But fine, Adam Levine, whatever. He plays a bartender/owner named Luke, and when he correctly identifies Aselton’s group as a moms’ night out and they get offended, he backtracks by saying “I love moms” and points to a tattoo on his arm, a heart with “moms” in it.

Aselton’s character says “It says ‘moms'” and Luke says he’s surprised she noticed and she says noticing details is kind of her thing because she’s a lawyer. Gosh what a cute interaction– hey wait, what? How are you congratulating yourself for noticing A THING HE LITERALLY JUST POINTED AT AND SAID “HEY LOOK AT THIS”? Like, there was even a closeup of him pointing at it. How did this moment manage to get through a writer, a director, an editor, the first person to watch it, etc, without anyone pointing out the obvious flaw?

Much of the movie is weird and disjointed like this. At another point, Katie Aselton’s character puts her phone down in frustration, saying “I just don’t get Instagram,” while the screen shows that what she was struggling with was the log-in page. You don’t get Instagram? Weird, but okay, fine. Surely you’ve logged into a website before though, no?

Later in the film, when Aselton’s character disappears with Luke the dingus bartender, Molly Shannon’s character pipes up, “Wait, I can track her! I helped her set up her Instagram earlier,” pulling up a screen that shows a map with a blinking cursor where Aselton’s character is.

Dude, what? Instagram has 600 million monthly users and not one of them is going to be able to buy the basic premise of this entire sequence. This is just not how anything actually works. Who is the target audience for this, Luddite grandmas who think robots steal their medicine? I could go on with other fundamentally flawed plot points, but it’d be redundant.

I like all of these actors (the cast also includes Toni Collette, Adam Scott, Rob Huebel and others, though there aren’t any who quite transcend the material like Kathryn Hahn did in Bad Moms). But this movie is just a whiff. If I’m going to spend almost the entire film suspending my disbelief I expect better jokes than flying baby shit and moms smoking pot outside a Walgreen’s.

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