It’s generally unwise to complain when something or someone “tries too hard,” because the alternative is always far worse.
But everybody in “Fun Mom Dinner” wanted ever-so-much to make Paul Rudd’s wife’s script funny, that cast and crew must have worn out the film’s insurers with their hernia truss claims.
Land Toni Collette and Molly Shannon for it, let Bridget Everett (“PattiCake$,” “Trainwreck”) steal it, summon Paul Rudd himself for a funny legal pot dispenser cameo, and you’d think this “Bridesmais/Bad Moms” wannabe should spontaneously burst into laughs, right?
Nope. It’s a flute of cheap champagne left out too long, an 82 minute fizzle with barely a giggle in it.
The California Happy Days Elementary moms are single-mom Jamie (Shannon), who has the “Shares too much on Social Media” give-away — divorced and a little sad. Her mantra, “You are not just a mom, but a hot HOT single lady…educated female person with a big set of t–s. ”
Her pal Melanie (Everett) is super-upbeat super-involved mom — on pick-up/drop-off traffic patrol, a wound-too-tight/take-everything-too far matriarch to a brood she exhausts herself trying to cheer up.
Emily (Katie Aselton of “Black Rock” and “The Gift”) is the sad, pretty mom in the withering marriage (Adam Scott plays Tom), constantly on call for two kids including a toddler who gives her a “poop facial” when he’s curious about what’s in his diaper.
Kate (Collette) is the odd-mom out, chased out of her own bed by the kids most nights, not interested in volunteering at school, clinging to a minute of alone time to smoke a cigarette in the tub — then the minute’s up.
“I’m mommed out. I’m over it. Mom yoga. Mom juicing...all of it.”
Emily was her pal in college, but to the other moms she’s just “that bitch Kate with the twins,” self-absorbed and checked-out. Emily has to trick her into joining the others — she HATES Melanie — for a night of “Lotsa wine, NO kids.”
The guys? Well, Tom and Kate’s husband Andrew (Rob Huebel) agree to “baby-sit.”
“It’s not BABY sitting when they’re your kids. It’s PARENTING.”
What ensues is a night of quarreling and bonding over “a quick one, when Kimmel’s on commercial break,” learning what “rosebudding” and “Vajazzling” and “Youtube boxing” are, setting each other and then restroom smoke alarms off, the joys of a Walgreen’s gift card and late night visits to Kate’s favorite medical marijuana dispensary.
“Anybody have glaucoma?”
Paul Rudd and David Wain are the yarmulke-wearing pot peddlers, purveyors of “Ruth Bader Ganja!” to the giggling, nibbling, vaping and eventually karaoke-singing “No WAY I’m f—–g doing BEDtime tonight!” moms.
“We’re sticking together, like SISTER wives.”
You watch enough made-for-Netflix or dumped-on-Netflix comedies, aimed at teens or 40ish mothers wondering where their youth went, and you pick up on a screenwriter’s crutch. “Sixteen Candles” references abound, “Jake Ryan” lust is re-declared and The Go Gos, The Cars and The Pretenders bounce through the soundtrack. It’s the most exhausted item of ’80s nostalgia of them all. Knock it off, screenwriters.
One-liners hang in the air and die of loneliness — “OK, Oprah, Gayle, wanna let us into your ‘friendship circle?'”
The occasional surprise — Everett delivers most of these — are never funny enough. And as cute as the “Dads left alone with the kids” sequences are, they’re a distraction from the alleged mayhem these not-really-buttoned-down, F-bombing mothers aren’t actually creating.
It sounds like an R-rated comedy, but plays like a Disney Channel one littered with profanity, pot and bloodless life lessons about getting older, being a parent and losing yourself.
Rarely has an 82 minute comedy felt more like a complete waste of one’s time.
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, crude sexual material, and drug use
Cast: Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Katie Aselton, Bridget Everett, Adam Scott
Credits:Directed by Alethea Jones, script by Julie Rudd. A Momentum release.
Running time: 1:22