Fun Mom Dinner
dir Alethea Jones
scr Julie Rudd
prd Andrew Duncan, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Naomi Scott
with Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Bridget Everett, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Rob Huebel, Adam Levine, Paul Rust, Kathryn Prescott, John Early, David Wain, Paul Rudd
release US 4.Aug.17
17/US 1h29
Fun Mom Dinner
Karaoke queens: Collette, Shannon, Aselton and Everett

scott huebel levine
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Fun Mom Dinner Smart and realistic, this comedy may be uneven, but it's a clever combination of silliness and sharp-edged realism that's enjoyable to watch as four women remember that they are a lot more than just parents of preschool classmates. Aside from being somewhat predictable, and resolutely white and middle-class, it's an entertaining romp.

When she plans a dinner to help frazzled mothers escape their kids, Jamie (Shannon) invites Emily (Aselton), who in turn invites Kate (Collette), which is a problem because she's in a perpetual battle with Jamie's friend Melanie (Everett). A few glasses of wine in, Kate and Jamie come to verbal blows before finding common ground. Smoking a joint brings them all closer, leading to some rather messy mayhem as they decide to stay out late. Meanwhile, Emily's and Kate's husbands (Scott and Huebel) are having their own adventures at home watching the children.

Rudd's script playfully addresses the stresses affluent mothers face. In addition to the usual issues with school and husbands, Kate confesses that she's "mommed out", fed up with the pressure from other mothers. Meanwhile, the divorced Jamie is ready to tackle the dating scene, and meeting a charming, hot barman (Levine) helps, even if he's more interested in Emily. (Rust's nerdy nice guy is more Jamie's style.) As the night progresses, the women do some karaoke, flirt with men and teach some teens how to interact without their phones.

Performances are relaxed and authentic, balancing the more serious edges with witty comical timing. While Aselton has the closest thing to a central role, the other three are far more fun to watch. Everett, as usual, is the scene-stealer as the military-minded Melanie, while Shannon endearingly conveys Jamie's nervous hopefulness, and Collette gleefully cuts loose as the transgressive Kate. Thankfully, Scott and Huebel avoid making their hapless characters looking like buffoons.

The film ambles along gently, with moments of hilariously ridiculous comedy mingling alongside more thoughtful observations. "It feels so good to just be the old me for a few hours," Emily sighs at one point before snapping back to the present. Yes, the script isn't nearly as anarchic as it seems to be. But it's a terrific depiction of how essential it is to forget about our responsibilities now and then, and to rediscover who we really are as opposed to who everyone expects us to be. But frankly, after this we just want to be Bridget Everett's best friend.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 28.Jul.17

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