Yes, you read that correctly. The script for Bad Moms was written by two decent dads.
This insight may come as a surprise to some women who enjoyed this movie, like Globe and Mail critic Julia Cooper, who wrote, “I wish I could say I was a few years off from finding the premise of two groups of moms battling over the title of next PTA president funny. But it turns out I want all the kale jokes, the Zumba one-liners, the ‘mom bra’ bangers. Like Bad Mom’s star Mila Kunis, it seems I have aged into a new demographic.”
Cooper wasn’t the only reviewer to note how the witty comedy mines the real-life aggravations of motherhood in this day and age.
“It’s not just at title,” wrote the Chicago Reader’s J.R. Jones. “It’s a demographic!”
Typically, the creators of movies that are written about and (let’s be honest) are marketed to a certain demographic are members of that particular demographic themselves. That’s why the news that Bad Moms was written and directed by two men was so surprising to most viewers. This fact becomes even more startling considering the two particular men involved and the other movies they’ve created thus far.
John Lucas and Scott Moore wrote the screenplay for Bad Moms in addition to directing the film. If those names sound familiar, that’s because this is the same duo responsible for The Hangover comedy franchise.
Aren’t those movies about dudes being dudes and doing dude things?
Yes, yes they are. So how did these two guys figure out how to portray moms and the issues they face so well? They watched their wives, Moore told the Los Angeles Daily News.
“Jon and I are both married to two lovely women and we both have two kids,” Moore said. “We’re kind of in the thick of it, parenting-wise. What happened was, we were both sitting around trying to think of our next script in our home offices, looking at blank monitors and watching our wives trying to live up to this idea of being the perfect mom and running ragged with the kids. We saw how intense and how much pressure that is, and we thought there was a lot of comedy there.”
Moore and Lucas didn’t stop with their own wives. They also invited other moms they knew over for parties.
Then they proceeded to grill them on their mothering experiences.
“We sort of tackled it more like documentary filmmakers,” Moore said. “We were just putting other people’s stories in there and then made sure it made sense for our story.”
That doesn’t sound like a bad way to write. Besides, as Lucas told the Los Angeles Daily News, “It’s so much easier than coming up with stuff on our own.”
There’s no way Bad Moms would have turned out as funny as it is if Moore and Lucas weren’t self-aware enough to step aside and let the moms tell their own stories. Thankfully they did, and the film did alright at the box office.
More importantly, it connected with its target audience: moms who are sick of the perfectionist culture of parenting. And isn’t that all moms, when they’re being honest?