In a shocking turn of events, this movie that looked like a vehicle for white wine with the tag, “Party like a mother,” is well-written and funny. When is the last time you saw a comedy that you were like, “the writing in this is interesting and intelligent?” Never/Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
The movie follows Mila Kunis as Amy Mitchell, a mom who can’t catch or give herself a break! She has a bowl of Apple Jacks for a husband (is that the douchiest sounding cereal? I think so) who ends up cheating on her online. (Which is still cheating!!! They have a back and forth about this in the movie and he’s like, “I never actually did anything” and it’s like, bro how dented is your moral compass to not understand it’s still wrong to mutually masturbate with someone else online while you keep it from your partner?)
Amy has 2 kids, a boy (who looks exactly like Gordo from Lizzie McGuire) who is a slacker and a daughter who is very concerned about what extracurriculars will get her into an Ivy League college even though she’s twelve. Amy does everything for her kids (even their homework sometimes which I also think is unethical but she stops eventually) on a quest to be a “good mom.” She, and most other parents, are tyrannized by the witchy (and not the cool kind of witchy, the bad kind) head of the PTA Gwendolyn Harris played by Christina Applegate. IMDB has made the interesting choice of not including last names of characters on the movie’s page despite them being in the movie so I’m just guessing on some of these.
So, when Amy kicks her husband out for cybering some woman with a huge bush (that is exactly how she is referenced in the movie) she starts deciding she has to prioritize herself. She scales back on her “cool coffee job” (a start up run by Clark Duke who I like so much. Hot Tub Time Machine 4evr), stops making breakfast for her kids, and quits the PTA in a fiery blaze then goes to a bar to drink. #Relatable.
At the bar she meets Carla, played by Kathryn Hahn. Kathryn Hahn is such a talented comedic actress and just talented in general. I love her. She was one of the only good parts of The Visit and she’s so funny in Parks & Rec and she’s underused in everything else but I hope she’s coming into a personal Renaissance (a Hahn Dynasty if you will!!). In this she plays a single mom who is DTF mostly everything and who loves her son to pieces even though she thinks he is stupid and “would rather go to Afghanistan than another baseball game.” She’s definitely the “FUCK THAT” element of the group, often facilitating big movements and pushing the other women to do things they should and want to do. There’s also a scene where Amy and Kiki call her to ask if she wants to go to a movie in the middle of the day and she’s already there and I respect that immensely.
At the bar she also meets Kiki (Kristen Bell) who follows her there after the PTA kerfuffle to tell Amy she’s impressed by what she did. Kiki is a stay at home mom who is very sheltered and meek and gets called “bitch” a lot by her kids (one time, but that’s still a lot). Her husband seems like the worst, very controlling and has a “isn’t that your job?” attitude towards parenting and gender in general. She starts wearing lipstick towards the end of the movie and it’s fun for everyone.
The women all drink dark liquor and go on a particularly rowdy trip to the supermarket together and I know that sounds lame but it’s shot in slow motion and is actually really wonderful. At one point (in slow motion) they’re making an alcoholic milkshake in the aisle and a security guard starts running towards them but then Kathryn Hahn charges him and he turns around midway and runs into a La Croix display and it’s an A+.
Gwendolyn has it out for Amy because the PTA is a dictatorship and she can’t have any insubordination, so she goes after Amy through her kids. Mainly her daughter because women are always targets but also because you can’t really “get” someone who doesn’t care about anything, which is kind of her son’s whole personality. So first Gwendolyn forces the soccer coach to bench Jane (which, I know this is a fictional character- but can’t we retire some names the way sports teams retire some jersey numbers? I think ‘Jane’ could take a few years off) then later plants drugs in her locker which I think we can all agree is too much. Amy decides she wants to run for head of the PTA to shorten Gwendolyn’s leash and invites women to her house for a get together to discuss. There are fliers. Gwendolyn throws a competing party with Martha Stewart and meatballs. The four women at Amy’s house (one woman came because Carla said she would have sex with her husband if she didn’t) start drinking and playing that game where you hold your phone against your head and try to guess the word through clues. Everyone (even Martha Stewart) ends up coming over to Amy’s because you can’t keep free white wine a secret and it’s a success. Amy even ends up fucking the hot widower afterwards that is inevitably in this movie.
I don’t really feel like going through every plot point, one of the things I liked about the movie was how quickly it moved, stuff just happens and they get to the next thing and each scene is funny and good and moves the plot forward. I liked that after she decides to divorce her husband (after seeing couples counselor WANDA SYKES!!!!!!!!) they honor the complications/nuance of their relationship/the situation and share a hug. Too many times in these movies the women leave their husbands (or vice versa) and it’s a completely easy decision! Which it never is! Someone can be a mean idiot and you still love them and it’s still hard to break up the life you’ve spent the past however many years creating. I liked that they hugged and had that moment.
In the end Amy does get elected as head of the PTA after giving a speech. If in a movie you don’t know if your speech is going well, just wait and see if people start standing up and giving personal anecdotes full of humor and heart to address your points at the end. If they are, it is!! Lots of loose ends get wrapped up, her kids apologize for being assholes and Amy has a heart to heart with Gwendolyn who’s crying in her car and it’s so funny. Gwendolyn starts spilling all the things that are really going on at home and they’re all terrible and big except through tears with the same intensity she goes, “And my DVR just stopped recording Castle. How does that even happen???” and breaks down sobbing and it’s so funnyyyy. Christina Applegate is ALSO a wonderful comedic actress. It’s almost as if women are really funny? Like so many of them?? An undeniable amount???
There were so many lines in this that made me laugh out loud and happy to be watching which, let me reiterate again, doesn’t happen very often!
The takeaway from this movie seemed to be, “Don’t judge moms because it’s harder than you know and no one knows what they’re doing and just let everyone do their best” and that seems like a good message. There were things in this movie that the moms said that i had never thought of or heard that made sense- like Mila Kunis said she felt like the worst mom in the world at least once a day and that seems like something that people feel. Also she said in her end of movie speech that what works for her daughter rarely works for her son and that’s interesting I never thought about that-needing balance within one home for two kids. That’s valuable perspective to have! Hi mom!
At the end of the movie there were interviews with all the actors and their moms and it was so cute!! I watched Rush Hour 2 yesterday and I’m really a huge fan of these compilations that play during the credits with real scenes or bloopers or whatever.
It’s just really good, everyone should see it. 4 out of 5 store bought holes, (I just realized I never talked about this part but during the bake sale where no one can have items with gluten, nuts, white sugar, etc. etc. all these things, Amy just brings doughnut holes from a grocery store and Gwendolyn comes up livid and one of her minions says, “You can’t just bring store bought holes” and I liked it) would/will masturbate again.