Despite Jones’ and Rudd’s protests, there’s a similarly obvious comparison to be made between Bad Moms and Fun Mom Dinner—and as with Rough Night/Girls Trip, one of them suffers from it. Bad Moms’ cast of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn benefits from genuine chemistry and the film’s evident compassion for the job of motherhood (“At least once a day, I feel like the worst mom in the world… I feel like I’m screwing up all the time,” it begins in Kunis’ voice-over). Next to it, Fun Mom feels slightly shallow, its characters never genuinely connecting until a third-act game of “Never Have I Ever,” and far too little happening in their supposedly wild evening to create any real drama.

And throughout all of these films, there are those “coincidences”—the characters and tropes that make it so anyone could create their own Women Gone Wild movie, simply by filling in the blanks: the uptight perfectionist who really needs to loosen up; the Zach Galifianakis-like oddball who’s down to get cra-aa-aa-zy; some sort of alcohol or drug-induced bonding; the big, group-dissolving fight in the third act; the friendship-affirming group hug that resolves it, and so on.


Again, these tropes still have their individual standouts: Like Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids before her, Girls Trip’s Tiffany Haddish gives a star-making performance as the free-spirited Dina, whose spiking her friends’ drinks with absinthe leads to Queen Latifah’s Sasha hilariously making out with a lamp. But the rote nature of this checklist only contributes to the kind of comparisons that Jones and Rudd lament.

Fun Mom Dinner does have something many of these other films are lacking: It was written and directed by women, which gives it a wholly female perspective. Bridesmaids and Girls Trip had female writers but male directors; Rough Night is the film debut of Broad City’s Lucia Aniello, but the script was co-written with her male partner, Paul W. Downs. In our interview, Jones stresses the importance of “stacking diversity behind the lens in terms of writers, directors, producers—the more diverse we go, the more interesting the stories and the deeper the characters are going to be and their experiences on the screen are going to be more honest and authentic.” (Her next project will involve an exploration of that classic childhood female icon, Barbie.) But it’s frustrating that, even with that diversity behind the scenes, what ends up on screen often feels so homogenous.


And it’s especially frustrating given that, as Rudd herself describes, there are so many women’s stories to be told—even if just focusing on parenthood. “There are endless stories about moms,” Rudd says. “Since I wrote this, there are 75 new crazy things that have happened with my kids. You put five moms in a room, they can talk for 60 days about crazy things that have happened. There is no lack of material if people want to continue making so-called ‘mom movies,’ as long as authentic people are telling authentic stories.”

Those “mom movies” could explore anything and everything, from the nitty-gritty of parenting to platonic friendships to romance, and the considerable success of Bad Moms and Girls Trip continues to prove there’s a constant demand for female-centric comedies. But if the filmmakers behind them want to break away from being unfairly lumped in with each other, they also need to break from the tired “one crazy night” trope and offer us something new—a bolder, more colorful, more empowering mural, and something much less paint-by-numbers. That would be even wilder.