Tag Archives: Kathryn Hahn

Moms Gone Wild

‘Bad Moms’ is a raunchy yarn about mothers who’ve had enough

Bad Moms
Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn & Christina Applegate
Directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Rated R

“I feel like the worst mom in the world,” says Amy (Mila Kunis), the harried, hurried, overworked, underappreciated mother of two young teens. “Still, I love being a mom.”

That conflicted yin and yang of motherhood, so familiar to anyone who’s been there (or is there), is the comedic core of this raunchy, righteously rollicking yarn about a trio of suburban moms who decide they’ve had enough—of PTA Nazis, wussie husbands, doofus booses and just about everything else—and cut loose.

Writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who contributed to the screenplays of The Hangover—about three guys on a Las Vegas party-pa-looza—and its two sequels, seem to want to show that they’re equal-opportunity humorists: They can write crude, R-rated sex jokes for women, too, even soccer moms!

The strong cast seems up for the task. Kunis is just the right shade of frazzled as Amy, whose world falls apart quickly after she catches her loutish husband (Dave Walton, who plays Sam on TV’s New Girl) in a compromising position with his internet girlfriend.

Kristen Bell is social outcast Kiki, struggling to raise three young children with her chauvinist mate and fantasizing about getting into a car crash where she can go to the hospital for some quality “me time.”


Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn raise a toast to ‘Bad Moms.’

But the real comedy catalyst is Kathryn Hahn, a veteran of dozens of TV and movie roles, as Carla, the trio’s sole single mom—and she’s a pistol, a brash, been-around-the-block sexual dynamo who gets most of the movie’s laugh-out-loud lines and visual gags, particularly the hilariously vulgar ones. You’ll have a hard time looking the same way again at any sweatshirt hoodie after Carla uses the pink one Kiki is wearing to demonstrate a particular point about male anatomy.

“I’m not going to wear this sweatshirt ever again,” a stunned Kiki vows.

Christina Applegate digs deep into the delicious dirty tricks of her role as Gwendolyn, the head of the school PTA, who rules everything—particularly bake sales—with an iron fist. Jada Pinkett Smith is Stacy, her feisty first lieutenant. Jay Hernandez is the school’s “hot” widower dad (who really knows how to speed-buckle a car seat). Wendell Pierce (who played Det. “Bunk” Moreland on TV’s The Wire) gets in a great line in his short scene as the principal. Wanda Sykes plays a marriage counselor who finally gets an un-coupled couple she can’t re-couple. And there’s a very special cameo by a very special hostess.

Amy (left) faces off at a PTA bake sale with her nemesis Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her lackey (Jada Pinkett Smith).

Amy (left) faces off at a bake sale with nemesis Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her lackey (Jada Pinkett Smith).

“It’s OK to be a bad mom,” a converted Amy eventually realizes, after a blitz of female empowerment, liberation, bonding and unification. Nobody’s perfect, every “bad mom” has a good side, there’s beauty in imperfection, and when moms are all in it together, it’s all good!

Stay for the credits to meet the real-life moms of the cast members. For anyone feeling a bit roughed up and raw by the R-rated humor, this gentle, parting dollop of smooth sweetness is guaranteed to leave you with a smile.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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To Grandma’s House We Go

Kids get more than milk and cookies in frightening, funny ‘Visit’


The Visit

Starring Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan


Old people sure can be odd—and sometimes scary—to young ‘uns.

Director M. Night Shyamalan riffs on that generational rift, with frightening and sometimes very funny results, in this tale of two teenage siblings sent to spend a week in rural Pennsylvania with the grandparents they’ve never met.

As their divorced mom (Kathryn Hahn) departs on a cruise with her new boyfriend, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her younger brother Tyler (Ed Oxenbould, from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) ship off via train to get to know her estranged parents, whom she hasn’t seen in nearly 20 years.

8L60_ITP_00026RV2.jpg_cmykNana (Tony-winning Broadway actress Deanna Dunagan) and Pop-Pop (Peter McRobbie) are a bit strange, all right. She walks, runs and crawls around at night all ghost-like, in a white nightgown—and she projectile vomits on the floor and claws the walls. He thinks strangers are watching him, dresses up for a costume party that never happens, and squirrels something away in a shed behind the house.

Becca, a budding filmmaker, captures everything on camera for the movie she’s making about her mother’s childhood and the difficult relationship she had with her parents. As such, Becca’s movie becomes much of our movie, as we watch her “(found) footage” as she or Tyler are shooting, viewing or editing it.

8L60_FPF_00086R.jpg_cmykWriter/director Shyamalan has given us suspenseful movies before—Unbreakable, Signs, The Sixth Sense, The Village, The Lady in the Water. It’s easy to pick up here on some of his familiar themes: broken families, the mystical power of storytelling, otherworldly creatures, the “magic” of water. Becca’s movie-within-the-movie feels almost like a tribute to the director’s craft itself, with Becca and Tyler using filmmaking phrases like mise en scene and denouement. A deranged game of the board game Yahtzee veers for a moment into Quentin Tarantino territory. Beneath its carefully crafted scares, this is a very artful movie about movies, a story about stories, and a tale of a tale—with a trademark, last-minute Shyamalan twist.

The Visit has some truly hair-raising scares­—and some genuine laughs. Many of the chuckles come from young Tyler, a wannabe rapper who uses female pop singers’ names instead of curse words8L60_TP1_00088RV2.jpg_cmyk (“Oh, Shakira!”) when he’s in need of expletives. As the grandparents, Dunagan and McRobbie are old pros, TV and film veterans who keep the movie’s nasty, bone-chilling surprises closely guarded secrets until it’s time to spring them, when The Visit shifts from creepy to crazy and Nana and Pop-Pop’s home becomes a modern-day, Hansel-and-Gretel house of horrors.

You’ll squirm when Becca crawls deep inside the kitchen oven. You’ll gasp when Tyler ventures into Pop-Pop’s shed. And after the most outrageous, hilariously icky gross-out gag you’ll see in any movie this year, you’ll never look at an adult diaper the same way again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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Disney Dreams

George Clooney goes back to the future


Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..?Disney 2015

Britt Robertson stars as an idealistic teenager who gets a ticket to ‘Tomorrowland.’



Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson & Hugh Laurie

Directed by Brad Bird


Walt Disney always wanted his parks to be “magical.” Here’s a movie that takes that idea and really runs with it. Actually, Tomorrowland takes that idea and flies with it—with rocket packs, no less—into the teeming, gleaming futurama of Uncle Walt’s dreams more than half a century ago when he opened the gates to Disneyland.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Young Frank (Thomas Robinson)..Ph: Kimberley French..©Disney 2015

Young Frank (Thomas Robinson) tests his rocket pack prototype.


In Tomorrowland, George Clooney plays the modern-day, grownup version of a bright young lad, Frank, who lugs along his homemade jetpack to an invention competition at the 1964 World’s Fair—where Disney unveiled four major attractions. Frank and his contraption are rejected, alas, but he gets a special invitation to hop aboard Disney’s new ride It’s a Small World, which turns out to be much more than just a poky boat cruise through an international chorus of singing animatronic children: It’s a secret portal to the future!

Frank has a glorious time in the splendid world-yet-to-come, a fabulous sky-tropolis called Tomorrowland. But he can’t stay there forever. We eventually find out why he must leave, and why, decades later, he’s compelled to return.

Director Brad Bird, who’s shown his skill in both animation and live action with The Iron Giant (1999), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007) and Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol (2011), mixes brisk, old-school adventure and a spirit of boundless idealism onto a palette of gorgeous, eye-popping visuals. The script, which he co-wrote with Damen Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus, World War Z, Cowboys and Aliens) and Jeff Jensen, crackles and pops mystery and suspense, wit and whimsy, and deeper, more passionate themes about science, technology and ecology.

Britt Robertson—recently seen saddling up in The Longest Ride—plays Casey, the spunky teenage daughter of a NASA scientist (country singer Tim McGraw) “chosen” for her own trip to Tomorrowland. British actress Raffey Cassedy is Athena, a mysterious young girl who connects both Frank and Cassidy across time. Hugh Laurie plays Tomorrowland’s top dog, who turns out to have quite a bite. Keegan-Michael Key from Key and Peel and Kathryn Hahn, who stars in Showtime’s Happyish, have a Men in Black-ish scene as a couple of space-oddity souvenir-shop owners.

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Frank Walker (George Clooney)..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney 2015

George Clooney visits a famous international landmark…which is much more than just a famous international landmark.

The movie doesn’t note it, but Disney fans will certainly be aware that Tomorrowland was one of the five original “lands” of Disneyland, opening in 1955 to give visitors an imaginative taste of the future and outer space. Its silent “background” presence in the film deepens the movie’s make-believe mystery about just how forward thinking the House of Mouse might have really been.

There’s quite a lot happening, sometimes almost too much, and the cartoonish violence—aliens blasting people away, humanoid robots being bashed and decapitated—may unsettle some little ones. Plot points become muddled in the rush to keep moving, and the movie’s message gets a bit preachy.

But, like Frank says at one point, “Can’t you just be amazed?” Any movie that can get young people thinking about the future—the future of the planet, their future, our future—and about not giving up, even in the face of doom and gloom, is pretty amazing in itself. Maybe it really is a small, small world, after all. And now I’m super-curious about the secret purpose of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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